Melinda Gates in Kenya to launch tech initiative to help reduce poverty

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta meets Melinda Gates, the Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda gates Foundation at State House in 2016

Philanthropist, Melinda Gates is in Kenya, to launch an initiative that promotes use of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to reduce poverty.

Through a new initiative, called Pathways for Prosperity: A new Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development, the initiative will seek harnessing AI’s data-mining ability to help solve problems that could not be solved before.

The new commission will also find what technology can do for jobs and economic opportunities in developing countries.  It will also investigate how emerging technologies can be harnessed for use in the poorest countries to tackle problems and enhance economic opportunities.

“The commission aims to spark new thinking on how developing countries can best harness modern technologies including robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, nanotechnology and blockchain – for inclusive growth and effective government,” said a statement shared with the media.

During her visit to Kenya, Melinda will hold a discussion with the commission’s two other co-chairs – Sri Mulyani Indrawati who is Indonesia’s finance minister and Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean billionaire philanthropist and founder of Econet.

The findings will be published to help governments, businesses and civil society groups take advantage of opportunities that technologies present developing countries.

Melinda Gates visit comes days after, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $300M (around €255M) over the next three years (2018-2020) to support agricultural research that will help the world’s poorest farmers better adapt to increasingly challenging growing conditions brought about by climate change, including rising temperatures, extreme weather patterns (droughts and floods), diseases, poor soil fertility, and attacks from crop pests.

The commitment comes in addition to a $318M (€270M) commitment from the European Commission with additional commitments from Member States still to be finalised.

Taken together, the funding from the European Commission and the Gates Foundation to help farmers increase crop yields, respond to environmental threats, and adapt their farming methods to climate change will amount to over $600M (around €525M) over the next three years.

Also, the Gates Foundation and the BNP Paribas Foundation, in partnership with the Agropolis Foundation, launched the One Planet Fellowship, a $15M 5-year programme to support 600 young African and European researchers who are working to help African farmers adapt to climate change.

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