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Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, predicted in his annual letter Tuesday that there will be almost no poor countries left by 2035. He also tried to debunk myths that may hurt efforts to help those in poverty.
Gates made the prediction in his 2014 annual letter. These letters usually focus only on the efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but this year, he decided to broaden his subject, notes the Associated Press. Gates’ 16-page letter tries to disprove three myths: that foreign aid doesn’t help; that helping people will cause overpopulation; and that poor countries will stay poor.
“All three reflect a dim view of the future, one that says the world isn’t improving but staying poor and sick, and getting overcrowded,” Gates wrote. “We’re going to make the opposite case, that the world is getting better, and that in two decades it will be better still.”
The philanthropist said that GDP per capita shows that countries like China and India now have booming economies and that life expectancy is getting better in Africa. He is so confident that things will get better in the next few decades that he made a bold prediction.
“By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world,” he wrote.
Gates notes that foreign health aid is a great investment. While it sounds like countries such as the U.S. and Norway are spending a lot in foreign aid, it only takes up a small percentage of its budgets. Norway may be the most charitable country in the world, but it is still only giving 3 percent of its budget to aid.
Melinda Gates also said that if more children survive, parents are less inclined to have large families. “The planet does not thrive when the sickest are allowed to die off, but rather when they are able to improve their lives,” she noted. “Human beings are not machines. We don’t reproduce mindlessly. We make decisions based on the circumstances we face.”
One goal Gates has is ridding the world of polio. He told The AFP that this is particularly difficult in Pakistan and Nigeria.
“Nigeria and Pakistan are going to be tough. The Pakistan violence is evil,” Gates said. “The truth is the vaccine is to help kids. And spreading rumors and attacking the workers on this -- those people don't have justice and truth on their side.”
image: Wikimedia Commons