Prime Minister Erna Solberg meets with Bill Gates in Oslo

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher The Office of the Prime Minister

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, met in Oslo today to discuss the well-established partnership between Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They also mapped out possible areas for future collaboration, on the basis of priorities set by Norway’s new Government.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, met in Oslo today to discuss the well-established partnership between Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They also mapped out possible areas for future collaboration, on the basis of priorities set by Norway’s new Government.

Ms Solberg emphasised Norway’s commitment to continuing its engagement for global health:

“Norway aims to further develop our efforts to promote global health, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation share an eye for innovation, both having contributed to making new tools and technologies such as vaccines available, and finding new sustainable business models for public–private collaboration. We both know innovation is key to getting more value for money and saving more lives”.

Indeed, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have, in collaboration with the market, already facilitated price reductions for family planning, for example by providing affordable contraceptive implants, and have contributed to saving mothers in developing countries.

Bill Gates said: “Norway has led the way on smart investments in global health and development and I am delighted that Prime Minister Solberg has today reiterated her commitment to maintain this as a key focus for her Government and to use Norway’s important voice to focus global attention on these issues. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Norwegian government enjoy a strong partnership covering a number of vitally important and live-saving interventions from the research that creates new solutions to some of the most dangerous diseases to the delivery that ensures these solutions are placed in the hands of the people who need them the most. I particularly welcome the Norwegian government’s focus on supporting GAVI, the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria and helping step up the efforts in the final push to eradicate polio - these are some of the smartest aid investments there are.
Central to the collaboration between Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are the joint efforts in the GAVI Alliance, which seeks to increase access to immunisation in poor countries. The GAVI Alliance has already helped to save millions of lives. The new Norwegian Government is therefore committed to doubling its contribution to GAVI between 2011 and 2015."

Finally, GAVI is also a cornerstone of the ambitious cooperation between Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the eradication of polio. Norway will increase its contribution to polio eradication and provide an additional NOK 190 million through GAVI to this end in 2014. That makes the total of the Norwegian contribution NOK 240 million.   

“Our meeting today has enabled us to explore possible future avenues of cooperation, in order to identify opportunities that can enable us to take further steps towards a better future for all”, said Ms Solberg. 

“Norwegians should be very proud of the incredible results that their generosity secures for the world’s poorest people. Norway’s leadership in global health and development is a great example to other governments in demonstrating the disproportionate impact aid can have. It is a message that has never been more important, particularly in the final push for the Millennium Development Goals before they expire in 2015. I value the strong relationship that our foundation has built with Norway and look forward to deepening our partnership in the coming years”, said Mr Gates.

In addition to global health, Ms. Solberg raised the importance of education for girls in developing countries, a priority for the new Norwegian Government.