Mbeki, who has drawn criticism for his sluggish response to
the virus that has infected up to six million South Africans, told journalists
that health is one of the "principle challenges" facing Africa and he
wanted to discuss how Gates's foundation could help.
"He has the passion and the experience to address the
problem," Mbeki was quoted as saying by the South African Press
Gates, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested
billions of dollars to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, said he was
"excited" to have the opportunity to take up the issue with Mbeki.
Gates is in
to attend a Microsoft-sponsored forum of African government and business
leaders on ways technology can improve competitiveness on the impoverished
Gates told the conference on Tuesday that Microsoft is
working with its partners to train more than 45-million people in
in information and communication technology by 2010. The company's efforts
include a new initiative with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to
support the growth of tourism in developing countries.
"By providing more affordable access to technology and
helping partners build strong local software economies, Microsoft can help
create knowledge-based economies in
that generate new jobs and offer new opportunities for growth, prosperity and
innovation," he said.
Also attending the conference is former
president Bill Clinton, who underlined the importance of technology in helping
achieve its development goals.
"Technology has expanded opportunities of millions of
people around the world and -- whether expanding access to information,
education or health care or increasing the collective power of individuals -- it
has an important role to play in creating a thriving, competitive Africa,"
said. -- Sapa-AP