Microsoft chairman and founder Bill Gates has partnered with the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to set up a $2.5bn fund to help the poor and fight disease, it was reported.
The fund, which will start with $500m raised from donors and governments, came about after Gates presented his proposal for the project at a meeting with IDB, Arab news reported.
The fund aims to help contribute to the fight against diseases such as malaria and polio. The former Microsoft boss praised the support his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has received from governments in the region.
"It's amazing what they've (IDB) contributed to global development over the last 40 years and we're proud to be a partner," he was quoted as saying.
"Polio only remains in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria in terms of being rooted there, but there have been outbreaks recently here in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq. And we're working to eradicate it with a bunch of great partners from this region.
"When you look at the picture of children dying across Muslim countries, you find a mixed picture; some countries have made huge gains, but there are others where far too many children are dying, not just from violence that you see most on the news, but often from diseases that we can cure with very little money.
"That's a tragedy that we can take positive steps to fix, right now, so my foundations are collaborating with partners across the Middle East to fix these global challenges in health and agriculture, many of which affect the Muslim world particularly," he added.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.