Mutual of America chief Tom Moran on a project visit to Niger with Concern

Irish American business mogul Tom Moran has heaped praise on Microsoft boss Bill Gates for helping save lives across the developing world.

Moran, the head of the insurance giant Mutual of America, is also the chairman of the Irish American aid agency Concern which has just won $41 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

The enormous grant will help Concern fund the battle against rising baby and mother death rates in developing countries.

Moran, who has visited several developing countries as part of his voluntary role with Concern, said the donation would save lives on the ground.

"Nearly 10 million children die each year before they reach the age of five," he said.

"This is equivalent to the death of half of the children under age five in the US every year.

"The project involves getting to the root of the healthcare challenges in the poorest countries. It’s bold, requires risk taking and is a great example of ‘new thinking’.

"We applaud the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for working with NGOs to fund new research and find new solutions."

Concern Executive Director Siobhan Walsh who was recently honored as one of the Top 50 women of influence in New York praised Gates for his commitment to helping women and children in developing countries.

“One woman dies every minute from pregnancy or childbirth related causes—the majority of them in developing countries.

"It is a scandal and we have to continue to do everything humanly possible to find new solutions," she said.

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to asking the challenging questions, to supporting the research to identify the root causes and investing in innovative ways to ensure the poorest and most vulnerable have access to basic healthcare.”

Concern's Chief Executive Tom Arnold said it was long past time to take action.

"This project is not only about meeting an overwhelming need, but it’s also about breakthroughs. The time has come to take action and combine investment, experience, expertise, and local resources to save millions of lives," he said.