UK & World News

  • 24 January 2014, 23:34

Bill Gates: Progress On Poverty 'Amazing'

Bill Gates has said government aid and philanthropy are helping ensure that the "poor are not getting poorer".

The Microsoft chairman told Sky News: "The poor have in fact been doing quite well and people really should feel good about their generosity, their role in helping things like literacy, life expectancy, childhood death rates, go down.

"That really is an incredible story that I think gets lost and it's unfortunate."

Mr Gates was talking to Sky from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he is speaking on global development and poverty during the four-day event.

The American, whose foundation has donated more than 17bn, has even predicted that extreme poverty will be a thing of the past by 2035.

"It's amazing how much progress we've made," Mr Gates told Sky News.

"By looking at where it's gone well and by doubling down on those kinds of programmes we'll have almost no poor countries left.

"This is very good news, it means equity in the world is closer than we think."

Mr Gates added: "Every country can become self sufficient if it gets the right level of health - things like vaccines, the right level of nutrition so their kids develop fully - that means agriculture and education.

"Once those antecedents are put in place they can get out of the poverty trap."

Despite Mr Gates' hopes, OECD figures say global development aid fell by 4% in real terms in 2011-12, with countries donating 76bn.

Aside from the US, the UK gave more than anyone, donating 8.3bn, equivalent to 130 for every British citizen.

However, British aid to countries such as India and Pakistan, which have nuclear weapons programmes, has proved controversial.

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