Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Authors / Biography

Laurie Lee

Title Director, Africa, Global Policy and Advocacy
Organization The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Laurie Lee is the Director, Africa, within Global Policy and Advocacy, leading the Foundation’s team working on policy, advocacy and government relations in Africa, including the establishment of the new Country Representation of the foundation in Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria.

Laurie joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in January 2009 as Deputy Director for External Affairs in the Global Development Policy and Advocacy team.

Prior to joining the foundation Laurie was a civil servant in the British Government, mainly in the Department for International Development (DFID), in which his last position was Deputy Director and Head of the International Trade Department. From 2004 to 2006 Laurie served as Deputy Director and Foreign Policy Adviser on Africa to Prime Minister Tony Blair. While in this role, he helped to lead the UK’s 2005 G8 Presidency focus on Africa and Poverty, culminating in the Gleneagles Summit, negotiating some of the key agreements on debt, aid and HIV/AIDS.

Laurie’s other experience includes working as DFID’s programme manager for Afghanistan and South Africa, and serving as a UK negotiator on African issues in the European Union.

Posts By Laurie Lee

Myth: People Living "Hand-to-Mouth" Don't Need a Bank Account

Five years ago, I was pretty new at the Gates Foundation and I was given a new book, Portfolios of the Poor, to read. On the very first page, it bust a myth that I didn’t even realise that I believed, let alone realise that it was a myth. It says: “For those of us who don’t have to do it, it is hard to imagine what it is like to live on [a dollar a day]. We don’t even try to imagine. We suppose that with incomes at these impossibly low levels, the poor can do little for themselves beyond hand-to-mouth survival.”

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21st Century Progress in Africa: Achieving MDG 2 in Tanzania

Tanzania has made more progress in primary education during the last 10 years than any other country in Africa. In fact, Tanzania achieved MDG2, universal enrollment in primary education by 2015, five years early.

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21st Century Progress in Africa: Achieving MDG 3 in Senegal

Many countries in Africa are making fast progress on increasing the number of girls attending primary school and the number of women in Parliament, two key measures of gender equality and women’s empowerment. One of these countries is Senegal.

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21st Century Progress in Africa: Eradicating Hunger and Poverty (MDG1) in Ethiopia

I was recently in Ethiopia. We travelled up to the north of the country, to the city of Gondar, the former Royal capital of the Abyssinia Empire. It was a powerful visit given Ethiopia is on target to cut in half the number of people who live in extreme poverty, in the country, by 2015.

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Africa’s Economy is Growing Fast

A look at factors driving economic growth across many countries in Africa in the 21st century.

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