By Alfred Nyakinda

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have appointed Cheikh Oumar Seydi, who is the former sub-Saharan regional director of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the new Africa director.

“Oumar brings extensive experience working across Africa, leading high-performing teams through extensive growth and partnerships across both the public and private sector,” said Chris Elias, president, Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “He will play a central role in the foundation’s work across the world’s second largest continent.”

In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

“I am looking forward to working with our partners and exploring new strategies that will help increase the foundation’s impact on the continent,” said Seydi. “This is a critical time in Africa’s development and I am excited to join an organization that is committed to supporting African countries in meeting their development goals.”

The foundation has recently grown its Africa presence, doubling its Africa-based staff over the past two years. It continues to deepen its work in Ethiopia and Nigeria and strengthen its engagement across sub-Saharan Africa, including building an ecosystem of partners – both public and private – to help scale its increasingly integrated work towards addressing healthcare challenges, eradicating poverty and facilitating economic growth.

The Foundation’s 2018 Goalkeepers Report reiterates; “We believe Africa is the world’s most important priority for the foreseeable future. What happens to the large number of young people there will be the single biggest determinant of whether the world makes progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals—that is, whether life on this planet keeps getting better.” Contacts: