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The American billionaire and philanthropist, Bill Gates, is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa this coming Wednesday March 28, 2011. The second richest man on our planet is scheduled to pay a three day visit to observe work done by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in different regions of the country in the area of agriculture, health and sanitation, Capital learnt.
He is expected to meet Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Minster of Health, Tedros Adhanom (PhD), the Minister of Agriculture, Tefera Deribew and the representatives of donor community among others.
In his discussions with top political figures of Ethiopia, Gates is expected to discuss the issue of small and medium commercial seed farms at length in addition to what the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has accomplished in the past 12 years of its operation in Ethiopia.
In its involvement in Ethiopia since 2000 in the area of health, agriculture and sanitation, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has invested close to 400 million dollar according to Capital sources in the foundation. This does not include the assistance Ethiopia receives through the United Nations Agencies.
Though there is speculation about his presence at the first Innovation Prize for Africa which is organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), Capital learnt that he will not attend due to time constraints.
The AIP announced last week that the establishment of the African Innovation Prize worth 100,000 dollars for the winner and 50,000 dollars for the runner-up. The prize will be presented for the first time on 26 March 2012 in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of a conference of African Finance Ministers. The annual award is designed to promote the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers among young African men and women to develop innovative commercial solutions.
The 2012 IPA will consist of two awards given to the two selected innovators/entrepreneurs in the following three thematic areas: ICTs; Green Technology (energy and water); Health and Food security (including agriculture). The panel of judges has already shortlisted seven nominees out of the 458 submissions from 38 countries.