Middle East

Our work in the Middle East includes efforts to increase access to vaccines, boost agricultural production, improve sanitation, and respond to emergency situations. We also build partnerships with governments and private donors who are helping to fund research and programs that will benefit people living in poverty all around the globe.
A health clinic in Luxor, Egypt.
A health clinic in Luxor, Egypt.

At a glance

  • Of the more than 1 billion people living in absolute poverty worldwide, 300 million live in the Muslim world.
  • Many Middle Eastern countries are caught in a complex cycle of poor human development outcomes that lead to political instability, which in turn hampers progress in human development.
  • We invest directly in a number of countries to deliver humanitarian relief, support poor farmers, and expand opportunities for young people.
  • We work alongside donors and partners from the region, combining our respective expertise, resources, and voices to call for change.
  • We support the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, which provides affordable financing for the least wealthy 30 countries among members of the Islamic Development Bank.


Our foundation works with partners across the Middle East to tackle a range of challenges, from poor health and poverty to low agricultural production. While these challenges are complex, the solutions are also to be found in the region. Countries across the region, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, are highly engaged in global health and development as members of key global alliances and funding mechanisms that support better outcomes for low-income countries in the Middle East and around the world.

We invest directly in a number of countries and territories in the Arab world, including to deliver humanitarian relief in Yemen, Iraq, Gaza, and Syria; to support poor farmers across the region to grow more crops; and to provide libraries in Tunisia and Palestine with critical resources to connect young people with greater opportunity.

We know that the most significant gains will come from working alongside donors and partners from the region, combining our respective expertise, resources, and voices to call for change. That’s why we collaborate with local governments, development banks, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and private individuals to build programs that can make a real difference.

Through these partnerships, GCC donors are taking the lead to eradicate polio from Syria, Pakistan, and the entire world. They are bringing lifesaving vaccines to the poorest children, who need them most. And together, we are building the philanthropy sector through a range of capacity-building initiatives.

Now is the time to build a broad coalition of development actors to solve the underlying challenges faced by countries across the Muslim world.
Asif Abbas
Head of Middle East Relations

Featured programs

Children crossing the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan receive oral polio vaccine through a program implemented by Rotary International.
Over the past three decades, the world has made tremendous progress toward the eradication of polio. Despite this progress, if we fail to fully eradicate this highly contagious disease, within a decade, we could witness a resurgence of as many as 200,000 new cases annually.
The damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of international cooperation and mobilization to respond to global health challenges.
Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE)

Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) was announced in 2017 and formally launched in November 2019. This institute, based in Abu Dhabi, is the only one of its kind in the region, and has been established through a partnership between the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Institute looks to accelerate progress towards disease elimination to alleviate suffering and improve human lives.

More about our work in the Middle East

Regional office
Our Middle East team is based in the foundation's London office.