Named the 'Al-Sumait Prizes' after the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti physician who devoted his life to helping the poor in Africa, the initiative was endorsed at the first meeting of the Al-Sumait Board of Trustees in Kuwait.
Each prize will encompass a sum of one million US dollars, a gold medal and a certificate of recognition to be awarded annually to individuals or institutions achieving a significant advance.
The Board comprises prominent personalities in the field of development in Africa and renowned philanthropists, including H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Former President of the African Development Bank.
Commenting, H.E. Sheikh Sabah said the main objective of the Al-Sumait prize is to promote positive change across Africa, which stems from Kuwait's goal to raise 'the level of Afro-Arab cooperation at all levels, especially in humanitarian, development and economic fields'.
Bill Gates, speaking in Kuwait, said: "Though I never met him, I've learned through my involvement in the prize about the extraordinary life of the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al Sumait and how he truly embodies Kuwait's tradition of generosity and concern for people in need. Through the Al-Sumait Prize, we will celebrate his life, not just by celebrating his achievements, but also by discovering the next generation of innovations that will shape a healthier and more prosperous future for Africa and lift millions out of poverty."
Dr. Donald Kaberuka said: "Al-Sumait Prize is a recognition and reward for excellence in human development in Education, Health and Food Security."
The Al-Sumait Prize Secretariat – the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) – said the 2015 prize would encompass 'Health', while the 2016 prize will be awarded for 'Food Security'. Both prizes will be presented to winners at a ceremony during the 4th Arab African Summit in Equatorial Guinea, November 2016.