Conversation between Melinda Gates & Kristalina Georgieva

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DATE: October 14, 2020

DAY: Wednesday

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM


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COVID-19 anywhere is an obstacle to the recovery everywhere. Overcoming the pandemic requires investments—in testing, therapeutics, and vaccines—and global cooperation. Join this conversation on how to pave the way for an inclusive recovery.

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Conversation between Melinda Gates & Kristalina Georgieva

The discussants addressed the impact of the pandemic on women and poor countries and the need for investments in testing, therapeutics, and vaccines while ensuring an inclusive recovery and global cooperation to overcome the pandemic.

Key Points:

  • Vaccine development and impact on economic recovery. Georgieva expected a vaccine by next year, although universal deployment will take time. Without a vaccine, the recovery would be slower and bumpier, and inequality would likely increase. Gates underscored the importance of taking care of everyone by focusing on who is struggling the most and who can help the fastest; ensuring the vaccine goes out first to healthcare workers globally and then to the most vulnerable populations in each country. Gates stressed the importance of global cooperation and highlighted the efforts made through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
  • Women are disproportionately affected. The pandemic has impacted women disproportionally given their higher participation in the informal sector and healthcare; 70 percent of frontline healthcare workers are women. Gates shared experiences from the Ebola epidemy, highlighting the shadow pandemic issue for women and the impact on their health and schooling. To address these issues, she cited policies such as suspension of tuition fees to help families from deciding between keeping their son or daughter in school; ensuring women have clean and healthy birthing kits for home delivery and putting cash transfers directly in the hands of women.
  • Macroeconomic policies. Georgieva stressed the need to support people and the economy through monetary policy and fiscal spending, even if debt levels will go up. In many advanced countries, interest rates are low or even negative and borrowing is cheap. For emerging and low-income economies, spending is also needed, but the high debt levels are more concerning. She noted that the Fund and the World Bank had lobbied the G20 to extend the provide debt suspension for poor countries and stressed the need for more grants and concessional financing to get out of this crisis. Gates stressed the importance of investing in infrastructure, in particular in human capital.


“Do not withdraw this support prematurely ... until we have a durable exit from the health crisis. We have to continue to support people and the economy.” Kristalina Georgieva

“If you take the first two billion doses of vaccine and they only get out to the high-income countries, you are going to get twice as much death.” Melinda Gates

“Women do more work than men: on an average, women do 2.7 hours every day more at home than men do.” Kristalina Georgieva

If you put money in a woman’s hands it will get spent properly on health, education and jobs Melinda Gates

Contributor: Dannah Al-Jarbou


Panelist: Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction. Together, Melinda and Bill meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.

Through her work at the foundation over the last twenty years, Melinda has seen first-hand that empowering women and girls can transform the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Her work has led her to focus increasingly on gender equity as a lever for change. In 2015, Melinda founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States. She is also the author of the bestselling book The Moment of Lift, in which she introduces readers to the inspiring women she has met during her work and travels around the world and shares her own journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls.

Panelist: Kristalina Georgieva

Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and also served as Interim President for a time. Previously, she served at the European Commission as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources – and as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the European Union’s humanitarian response to crises.

Moderator: Becky Anderson

Becky Anderson is one of CNN International's highest profile anchors. She hosts Connect the World with Becky Anderson and also serves as the Managing Editor of CNN Abu Dhabi. In these roles Anderson has a distinctive regional perspective on some of today's most important news stories. She has anchored special broadcasts from Tehran to Jerusalem, via Istanbul and Beirut, bringing a range of interviews, reports and packages to CNN International viewers around the globe. Anderson has also presented on wider-network stories such as the CNN Freedom Project and CNN’s coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos. She has received several major accolades for her reporting, most recently as part of CNN’s Emmy Award-winning coverage of Turkey’s incursion into Syria.