ZAM team

Editorial April 2024 | Simply putting money into complex problems has often disastrous consequences

An in-depth investigation by Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer this week questions whether the Bill & Melinda Gates 'Foundation is doing the right thing with their influential campaigns against poverty, inequality, and climate change. To that, this article casts solid doubt on the value of the Foundation’s work. Band-aids are plastered over complex problems, band-aids that, – at the Foundation's insistence –, have to be sourced from the pharmaceutical industry because developing countries are not allowed to produce any themselves. The causes of often immense problems are not addressed. Among other things, the article refers to highly critical analyses of the Foundation’s work in publications such as The Lancet Public Health.

Eight (!) years ago, ZAM contributors Zack Ohemeng Tawiah (Ghana) and Francis Mbala (DRC) already put their finger on the sore spot. Their story, “Feeding the parasites” shows how the Gates' campaign sets back the fight against malaria.

The recently published Mignex project confirms the findings of an investigation by Elizabeth BanyiTabi (Cameroon), Theophilus Abbah (Nigeria), Emmanuel Mutaizibwa (Uganda), Ngina Kirori (Kenya) and Brezh Malaba (Zimbabwe) published by ZAM last year. Both investigations found that migration information campaigns in origin countries – the messaging of which generally boils down to "please don't go" – are not only ineffective, but can actually increase migration inspirations. We will republish the story this week.

Simply pumping money into complex problems is not only naïve, but often has disastrous consequences. Information is key for those who want to shape necessary solidarity. ZAM often provides that information first, thanks to the impressive work of a growing number of African investigative journalists, creatives, and activists. Seeing our conclusions being confirmed encourages our team to continue disseminating sometimes painful, but always powerful stories.