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Bill Gates pledges $750 million to troubled AIDS fund

By Reuters
Thursday, January 26, 2012 5:27 EDT
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DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates pledged a further $750 million to the troubled global AIDS fund on Thursday and urged governments to continue their support to save lives.

“These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest,” he said in Davos at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced two days ago that its executive director, Michel Kazatchkine, was stepping down early following criticism over misuse of funds and cuts in funding.

The public-private organization, based in Geneva, accounts for around a quarter of international financing to fight HIV and AIDS, as well as the majority of funds to fight TB and malaria.

But it has been forced to cut back and said last year it would make no new grants or funding until 2014.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $750 million through a promissory note — a fresh injection in addition to the $650 million that the Gates charity has contributed since the fund was launched 10 years ago.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Jon Boyle; For full Reuters coverage from Davos go to www.reuters.com/davos)

[Photo Credit: 3777190317 / Shutterstock.com.]

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