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Bill Gates agrees to pay off Nigeria’s $76M debt in the fight to eradicate polio

By Selena Hill,

Last week, Bill Gates agreed to pay off the $76 million that Nigeria borrowed from Japan to fight polio. Gates and his wife, Melinda, announced that they will pay off the huge debt through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the course of 20 years, starting this year.

Nigeria, which is currently recovering from its worst recession in 25 years, originally took the loan in 2014 as part of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) provided by the Japanese government for increased polio eradication efforts. The Gates Foundation agreed to absorb the loan on Nigeria’s behalf after the country “achiev[ed] more than 80% vaccination coverage in at least one round each year in very high-risk areas across 80% of the country’s local government areas,” reports Quartz. Fortunately, there were no reported polio cases in the African nation in 2017.

Paulin Basinga, who serves as the Country Director for Nigeria at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told The Independent that the Gates Foundation is “pleased to repay the loan to the Government of Japan thanks to the strong leadership of the Nigerian government in polio eradication.”


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