Gates Foundation looking to expand in Africa

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Addis Ababa, 10 July 2014 (WIC) - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is set to “modestly” expand its presence in Ethiopia and Nigeria this year and is looking into opening new offices in both East and West Africa.

“[These offices] are about helping to provide on-the-ground relationships in real time with government, with partners, with donors and with some of our grantees,” Mark Suzman, president of global policy and advocacy at the organization, told Devex in an exclusive interview in London.

The expansion, however, will likely not lead to an international hiring boost, as Suzman pointed out that the foundation’s core operating model — relying on partners to implement programs on the ground — is not set to change.

“We’re not going to become a big field operating agency comparable to a U.N. agency,” he said, despite the fact that the organization has experienced a “growth spurt” over the past five years and now currently employs more than 1,200 people.