Bill and Melinda Gates visited Norway in the beginning of June. They held an open meeting at the Opera House along with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to discuss cooperation between government authorities and the private sector on major global challenges, such as combating poverty. An audience of nearly 1200 turned up to follow the discussions.
The Norwegian Government is cooperating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization) to vaccinate children in poorer countries, Burma and Indonesia included, and to develop new vaccines to combat diseases like AIDS and malaria, which are among the major causes of death in developing countries today.
Bill Gates emphasised the important part Norway has played in this context, and held up Norway’s allocation of a large portion of its GDP to aid projects as an example for the rest of the world to follow. He urged Norway to keep up the good work, and said that Norway had become the Foundation’s best partner, not only due to the money it has contributed but also due to its leadership skills, which are making a real difference.
Norway has increased its support for the GAVI Alliance to NOK 500 million annually until 2015. The sum total of Norway’s funding for the vaccination of children in poorer countries over this period will amount to more than NOK 6 billion. Jens Stoltenberg commented that Norway’s cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a good example of a successful partnership between a government and the private sector. He drew particular attention to Bill and Melinda Gates’ businesslike and results-orientated approach to global health challenges, and for the way they have drawn attention to these important issues.