Microsoft founder and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair, Bill Gates, has announced that the foundation will open a regional office in Kenya to support its initiatives. Gates stated that the regional office would enhance the foundation’s work in healthcare, agriculture and ICT in Kenya.
The announcement followed a meeting with President William Ruto, who spoke glowingly on the foundation’s initiatives in areas including health, agriculture, innovation and climate change. Gates has been in Kenya on a two-day trip with a raft of engagements scheduled, mostly focused on the programs backed by his foundation in Kenya and the region at large.
“We appreciate the support the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to extend to Kenya in realising our development goals, especially in the areas of healthcare, agriculture and ICT sectors,” Ruto shared after the meeting.
“We will continue to collaborate towards the realisation of food security and universal health coverage in our country,” the President asserted.
Ahead of the meeting with Ruto, Gates had disclosed his desire to engage leaders to “learn more about how leaders are charting a path forward, despite the challenging economic conditions, with investments in youth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
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Other engagements he had lined up included meetings with regional scientists and innovators, discussions with farmers on use of technology and adaptation to climate change, visits to primary health care clinics and a conversation with university students on how innovative tools and approaches can bolster efforts to increase food security and support climate adaptation across Africa.
The Gates Foundation works with national governments and and local communities in at least 49 African countries. In Kenya, it supports numerous programs spanning multiple sectors including health and agriculture.
Among organizations it supports in the country is the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the body mandated with conducting agricultural research through science, technology, and innovation to catalyze sustainable growth and development in agriculture and livestock product value chains.