Brussels, Belgium, 18 October 2018 – This morning, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Bill Gates, a philanthropist and the founder of Microsoft, discussed possibilities for supporting Africa through research and development. Gates also became Estonian e-resident when Ratas gave him his first government backed digital identity – e-Residency digital ID card.
Three African projects of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were discussed at the meeting. The projects concern clinical trials of vaccination, enhancing laboratory services, and improving the health care system, as well as applying innovation to support the development of agriculture and climate goals in Africa.
According to Ratas, all three projects are of significant value for the development of Africa and improving its citizen’s lives, and therefore merit consideration.
“Estonia can say from experience that digital skills and digital development are a cornerstone for a sustainable development in today’s world,” Ratas noted and added that last year, Estonia signed a memorandum of mutual understanding on e-governance with the African Union.
“Estonian digital businesses and experts are definitely ready to cooperate with the Gates Foundation as well,” the prime minister stressed.
Estonia has contributed nearly 4.7 million euros into the development of Africa through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and other development and humanitarian aid projects.
Ratas and Gates also discussed cooperation and proposals for funding research and development from the EU budget 2021–2027. Ratas assured that Estonia supports increasing the funding of Horizon Europe, a research and innovation programme.