MICROSOFT’S billionaire owner Bill Gates has donated $1m to the United Nation’s One UN Covid-19 Response Basket Fund launched to help Nigeria fund the federal government’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Nigeria, like most other developing nations struggled to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic when it first broke out as the country lacked the required equipment such as testing kits and ventilators. As a result, the One UN Covid-19 Response Basket Fund was established to help raise funds for countries that needed it.
According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which manages the basket fund, Nigeria got extra funding because of the growing number of cases in the country. As of today, Nigeria has 37,801 cases of which there have been 805 casualties and although the numbers are relatively low, the fact that they are rising is causing concern.
Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP representative in Nigeria, said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $1m in support of the Nigerian government in addressing the challenges of Covid-19. He added that the UN welcomed the contribution of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as it aimed to support the country’s response in the management of the crisis and the realities of post-crisis, particularly in the protection of vulnerable persons.
Mr Yahya added that as a recognised Covid-19 Response Financing and Investment Platform, this facility provides a timely opportunity to stand with Nigeria and channel financial contributions toward a multi-sectoral response. He added that the unfolding Covid-19 situation in Nigeria called for solidarity and coordinated support to the government to the response plan of the country.
“Working as one UN enables us to minimise the risk of duplication of efforts and ensures efficient mobilisation and rapid deployment of resources. Through the Basket Fund, the UN aims to ensure policy coherence, programmatic alignment, harmonisation, and coordination of support to the government of Nigeria during the time of crisis,” Mr Yahya said.
On April 6, the UN, in collaboration with the Nigerian government, launched the One UN Covid-19 Response Basket Fund. It serves as a financing and investment platform, through which different stakeholders can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
The overall management of the One UN Covid-19 Response Basket Fund is led and coordinated by a project board. This project board has representation from the Presidential Task Force, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, other relevant government departments, fund contributing donors and the UN.
As of June 2020, the basket fund, managed by UNDP mobilised $61.3m, including $54.6m from the European Union and $2.2m from UN agencies. Also, the fund received $4m from the private sector including $3.8m from Aliko Dangote, $200,000 from Maersk and $400,000 from the government of Switzerland.