Contribute more to fight infectious diseases, Macron urges world leaders

Emmanuel Macron, French President on Thursday took the unusual step of singling out a series of countries that he said could contribute more to funding the fight against infectious diseases.

Speaking at a donors’ conference for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Macron said everyone should up their pledges for the coming three-year period by 15 per cent.

The fund says that reaching its funding goal of 14 billion dollars could help save 16 million lives and avoid 234 million infections by 2023.

The Global Fund, which is mainly backed by governments but also gets some private funding, recorded pledges of 12.9 billion dollars in its last funding round, held in Canada in 2016.

Macron said France was already on board for a 15-per-cent increase, and he suggested that Japan, Norway and Australia should also up their contributions.

“I am sure that Japan can reach 15 per cent,” Macron argued. “It would be a game changer … if Japan makes this effort!”

The Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which made much smaller contributions if any in 2016, were “countries that we have great expectations of,” he added.

“I am talking about these countries which, if I’ve understood it right, have resources,” Macron said to laughter and applause in the Lyon conference hall, suggesting each could offer 100 million to 150 million dollars.

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