Global Fund celebrates 10 yrs with Gates gift of $700 million

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Global Fund, which disburses monies from other organizations to fight Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, is celebrating its 10th birthday this week with a special gift: the Bill Gates Foundation, which gave $650 million during the Fund’s first decade, has just announced it is giving an additional $750m.

The news, announced by Gates at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, came a day after the Global Fund announced that Columbian Gabriel Jaramillo has been appointed general manager, a new position “intended to oversee a process of transformation as it accelerates the fight against the three pandemics by focusing on its management of risk and grants.” Jaramillo is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Sovereign Bank and he has more than 35 years in executive positions in the financial industry.

The gift is larger than the promised cash, for it is helping breath new life into an organization that went on the defense last year after corruption, which the Fund itself had uncovered and was investigating, was brought into the limelight by US media, notably the Associated Press, which is owned by US newspapers and is widely distributed there.

Jaramillo, although in a new position, replaces Michel Kazatchkine, executive director, who announced his retirement this week. The new general manager reports to the board and has full executive responsibility for the Global Fund.

Gates, in Davos, praised the group’s track record and commitment to improved oversight, noting that problems with misuse of funds happens if you’re doing business in Africa.

 

His remarks refer to changes that are the result of a 2011 review by what is called the High-Level, Independent Panel assigned to look at financial controls and oversights. It was headed by former US Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and Botswana’s former President Festus Mogae. The board in November approved a “transformation” plan “to address the findings of the Panel, along with a new, ambitious, four-year strategy and decided to appoint a General Manager to oversee this transformation”.

The panel “recommended changes to risk-management, governance and oversight to ensure the institution manages donor resources as efficiently and safely as possible”, the Fund says in a statement.

The Guardian notes in its report on the changing of the guard that “the shock of the corruption revelations, which were pounced on by the US right, and the subsequent loss of confidence in the Fund – which led some donors to suspend payments – was an alarm call. . . What has happened now is a result of a determination that the Fund must not fail. An overhaul is underway, to ensure not just transparency but greater efficiency.”