As we move into the expansion phase, incorporating learning from countries in the lead, I want to thank you all for our great partnership for women, children and adolescent health and nutrition and for what we have accomplished together in the last two years. During this period, the GFF has evolved from proof of concept to a catalyst for country-led investments in women, children and adolescents within the global health architecture. Our country engagement has deepened, and the number of financing partners have grown from a small number of financial contributors to a growing number of trust fund contributors, co-financiers and private investors. Most importantly, we have seen the geographic expansion from a few frontrunner countries to the current 27 GFF supported countries in 2018, with another batch of countries soon joining us, thanks to the successful replenishment milestone.
After more than 2 ½ years as Director of the GFF -- longer than the two years I had originally planned and agreed on -- I’m leaving the GFF by the end of June, to time my departure with the transition into the next fiscal year and a new phase of the GFF coinciding with, and being part of, the organizational change across the Human Development family of the World Bank - our host agency. It is the right time for me to leave as a seconded director to the GFF, and to hand over that role and responsibility as part of an ongoing reorganization which aims to further strengthen the institutional arrangement of the GFF going forward.
What is exciting to me is to have been part of the start-up of an effort to rethink and implement development financing and to work with such a passionate team fully dedicated to walk the talk, focused on support to country implementation, on results and on scaled and sustainable financing – learning by doing.
I am grateful to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for giving me this fantastic opportunity by seconding me to the GFF and for the support that I have received from the leadership and colleagues at the World Bank, from our many GFF champions and partners across the globe – and of course, my thanks go to the wonderful GFF Secretariat staff who I have had the great privilege to work with!