Gates Foundation Boosts Coffers of Financially Strapped Global Fund

Bill Gates announced yesterday that between now and 2016, his foundation will pump $750 million into the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Gates, who made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, noted that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already committed $650 million to the Global Fund, making it the largest nongovernmental donor. "I am confident that this is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year, and I always urge other funders to join us in getting so much bang for our buck," wrote Gates in a letter he released on the eve of the Davos forum. Donor countries have paid $20.7 billion to date and pledged $8.2 billion more.

The new donation from the Gates Foundation comes in the form of a "promissory note," which is legally binding and counts as cash in the bank to cover signed grants, although the money does not need to be delivered to the Global Fund immediately. The Global Fund plans to disburse $10 billion in aid between 2011 and 2013, although as Gates noted in his letter, this is "not nearly the $12-$14 billion that is needed and was hoped for."

In the wake of the fund's financial troubles, its executive director, Michel Kazatchkine, announced earlier this week that he will step down in mid-March. His decision followed the board's appointment of a general manager who will assume many of Kazatchkine's responsibilities.