Kigali, 3 May 2017

  • Global Fund Board Chair, Norbert Hauser
  • Board Members
  • Executive Director, Ambassador Mark Dybul
  • Honourable Ministers and Senior Officials
  • Distinguished Partners
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning. I would like to welcome you all to Kigali. We are honoured to host the 37th meeting of the Global Fund Board. I hope you will all get a chance to enjoy our country, despite your busy agenda this week.

For almost fifteen years, the Global Fund has been a valuable partner, alongside other partners like PEPFAR and other important bilateral mechanisms, in our effort to transform the lives of Rwandans.

More Rwandans than ever are receiving antiretroviral treatment. We are also on track to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Mortality from tuberculosis and malaria has decreased significantly. Although more needs to be done, these results are encouraging.

We have seen similar outcomes in the vaccination of infants and reduction of maternal and child mortality.

Together, these factors have added almost 20 years to the life expectancy of the average Rwandan.

The scaling up of the Global Fund, and Rwanda’s biggest health gains, take place at roughly the same time. This is not an accident, as seen in the fact that Rwanda is not the only success story to emerge during this period, and as demonstrated by the generally good performance on the Millennium Development Goals globally.

This progress could only have been achieved in the context of a coherent, integrated, and sustainable health system, which our Government has been pursuing. The Global Fund understood this vision from the beginning and has continued to support it. We thank you.

It is fair to say that the Global Fund is possibly the most consequential and effective development partnership in our history. There are important lessons we can draw from this success.

The Fund was itself an innovation, a fundamentally new way of doing business. Building on that, it has the spirit to do the right thing and the flexibility do it well.

Let’s not take this for granted. After all it is quite easy to waste billions of dollars, by continuing to spend money year in and year out, whether there are any results to show for it or not.

We see examples all over, whether it is in development programmes, or peace and security efforts, in our region and beyond. You can see a lot of funds flowing, a lot of activities, and you can hardly match the results with what is going into the effort.

If the philosophy behind the Global Fund’s track record of achievement could be applied to other global problems, our world would definitely be a better place.

Cooperation is a big part of the story. Coming together so strongly to raise the funds needed to tackle major health threats shows that we also have the means to address the many other global challenges which we face today.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the partners who contributed to a record replenishment of the Global Fund last year. These commitments will help save countless lives around the world.

At the same time, I would like to remind us all that the task of sustaining the Global Fund far into the future requires constant attention, and above all continuing to deliver good results.

It is important to highlight that by strengthening national health systems rather than circumventing them the Global Fund has had a wider impact on health outcomes, even beyond the three diseases it targets.

Rallying around one national plan, one coordination mechanism, and one accountability framework helps ensure that all partners remain focused on agreed goals and get the best results.

I would also like to commend the Global Fund’s efforts to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability.

Over the years the Fund has demonstrated that it has the ability to correct course where necessary in order to maintain high standards, which helps explain why it has earned the trust of donors and implementers alike.

Allow me to conclude by thanking Norbert Hauser and Aida Kurtović for their able leadership of the Global Fund Board.

I would also like to thank Dr Mark Dybul, who has been a steady hand during his years of distinguished service to this organisation.

Together, you have been good stewards through many challenges and opportunities. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

And having said all that, I am sure the Board is always fully aware that no matter how well we are doing, there are always going to be lessons to learn and room for improvement. Just like anybody else, like all of us, we try not to get lost in the compliments given for progress made here and there. We always want to make sure that from lessons learned, and doing our best, we find those things that we can do better on.

I am sure the board is preoccupied with that as well. Our resources can be used more efficiently and effectively. The world around us will continue to change and we must adapt before lives are lost unnecessarily. But I think that is very clear to everyone and that is why there are all these commendable efforts by the Board and other mechanisms, and by countries themselves.

The Global Fund remains an important part of our efforts to better the health and well-being of our citizens. We very much look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead.

Once again I wish to thank you for all the support, and for your kind attention, and wish you productive deliberations.