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Gulf Countries Pledge Over $39m To Global Vaccine Fund

Gulf Countries Pledge Over $39m To Global Vaccine Fund

Saudi Arabia and Qatar were the biggest contributors, committing $25 million and $10 million respectively to Gavi Alliance.

Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar have pledged to contribute over $39 million as aid to Gavi Alliance, a non-profit organisation that supports immunisation in less developed countries.

Gavi, which is funded through governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that the Kingdom pledged around $25 million while Qatar has committed about $10 million.

Oman contributed $3 million to the vaccine fund while Prince Al Waleed’s foundation added another $1 million. In addition, $160,000 was raised by Kuwait Youth Contribute Committee, a group of student fundraisers in the Gulf country.

“It’s great to see the new donors of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman joining the global movement to support Gavi in its efforts to reach millions of children with life-saving vaccines,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We are proud to be partnering with these countries and other notable organisations in the GCC whose new contributions will help accelerate Gavi’s impact and get more vaccines to children who need them.”

Apart from $33 million donated by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi in 2011, donations to Gavi from the Gulf countries have been marginal.

International aid agencies are increasingly turned towards Gulf Arab countries for financial support as aid from Western countries has dropped in recent years following the recession.

Meanwhile, Gulf states have also begun channeling aid to conflict-ridden areas through global bodies such as the UN and its affiliates, deviating from providing support through just their own bilateral agencies.

In April 2013, Kuwait donated around $250 million in aid to Syria, out of which $205 million was given to the UN. The Gulf country is also the fifth-largest donor to the funds distributed by the UN in Syria.

In addition, Kuwait also pledged around $500 million in an emergency aid meeting that it hosted early last year to mobilise funds for the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia too pledged $60 million each as aid for Syria, adding to the total $1 billion that was committed by more than 60 countries at the emergency summit.

GCC countries have also contributed generously to the reconstruction aid sent to Gaza.

In October 2014, around $5.4 billion was pledged by the Gulf Arab countries as aid to rebuild Gaza City after a month-long conflict with the Israeli army that destroyed the majority of city’s infrastructure.

Qatar committed up to $1 billion in assistance while Kuwait and the UAE pledged $200 million each. Saudi Arabia too assured an aid package of $500 million to rebuild Gaza.

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