The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today launched its fourth annual Goalkeepers Report, featuring new data showing how the ripple effects of COVID-19 have stopped 20 years of progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
The report provides the most contemporary global data set for how the pandemic is affecting progress toward the Global Goals, showing that, by nearly every indicator, the world has regressed.
Africa has made tremendous improvements in poverty reduction with a 28% decrease in the number of people living in extreme poverty since 1990. But at the end of 2020, 13 million Africans are expected to fall below the poverty line in the best-case scenario, and 50 million at the worst.
We could see double the number of malaria deaths this year compared to 2018, and 80 million children under the age of one worldwide may be at risk from preventable diseases.
In addition, the economic damage being caused by the continent’s first recession in 25 years is reinforcing inequalities. Women and other vulnerable groups are suffering disproportionally, those in low-income countries are struggling with food and school closures are unfairly disadvantaging rural children.
Despite tremendous constraints, African countries are innovating to meet the challenge, and there is much the world can learn from the continent’s response.
The government is deploying mobile testing units in South Africa, the private sector is raising money to bolster resources in Nigeria, and new and improved cash transfers are reaching millions in West Africa.
In Senegal, scientists are developing cutting-edge, low-cost ventilators, and public-private partnerships are bringing internet connectivity to rural and remote communities in Kenya.
African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, in collaboration with The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, launched the African Medical Supplies Platform in June.
Its purpose is to ensure that countries on the continent have access to affordable, high-quality, lifesaving equipment and supplies, many of which are manufactured in Africa. Bill and Melinda Gates believe COVID-19 is a true test for the global community.
The International Monetary Fund projects that, despite the US$18 trillion already spent to stimulate economies around the world, the global economy will lose US$12 trillion or more by the end of 2021.
There are inherent limits to what low- and middle-income countries can do to backstop their economies, regardless of how effectively those economies have been managed. While high-income countries have mobilized 22% of GDP in emergency spending, this is compared to just 3% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bill and Melinda Gates began learning about and donating money to public health more than 20 years ago, after reading a story about how hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty were dying of diarrhoea, something that was easily treatable in the United States.
Today, because of global coordination and commitment, 4.5 million fewer children are dying each year from preventable diseases compared to 2000.