While more than 40% of the world reels under poverty, disease and malnutrition, Bill Gates is in the news for having predicted the end of poverty with the assertion that no country will remain in extreme poverty by the year 2035. The statement was made in the annual letter of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In his letter, Gates criticized the notion that poverty and disease are still the endemic cogs of a vicious cycle and that poverty can never be eradicated. His idea of being able to end poverty in the next 20 years emphasized the fact that war and politics have been the largest factors that have kept monetary aid from reaching poverty stricken regions in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He also mentioned that the inaccessibility of certain parts of Africa could have also contributed to aid not reaching those in need. Despite the fiery optimism to wipe out poverty from the face of the earth, the letter did acknowledge that inequality – both social and economic – will continue to exist in every region of the world, even in the face of progress.
Gates is well qualified to predict the end of poverty as he has been heavily involved with philanthropy over many years. He founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the year 1997 with the prime aim of eradicating poverty and providing health care services and education. The foundation works tirelessly to attract other organizations to its method of using business imperatives to influence the drive against poverty. It is the single largest charity house that can boast of transparent financial transactions. As of December 2013, $50 billion has been endowed to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Gates family alone has contributed $28 billion to a cause that is committed to improving the conditions in the third world. It is interesting to note that Gates and 84 other individuals in the world are as wealthy as 3.5 billion of the poorest populations put together. Gates believes that any foreign aid is an investment toward making a better future and ensuring that children in the impoverished regions do not miss out on the opportunities that are available to their counterparts in the wealthier parts of the world.
Born in 1955, Gates has a mixed lineage of British and Scottish ancestors. He founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and was instrumental in Microsoft’s ability to defend its aggressive product strategy and broaden the company’s product range above that of its rivals. The former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft predicted the end of poverty earlier this month, after years of being the richest man on earth. For 13 years, between 1995 and 2009, he has headed the list of Forbes’ wealthiest men. In 2000, he resigned from the post of CEO and became the chief software architect of Microsoft. In 2010, Gates delivered a speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, exhorting the students to envision ground-breaking solutions that can tackle the problems facing the world, such as poverty, AIDS and high birth mortality.
By: Grace Stephen