Bill Gates Reports There Will Be No More Poor Countries Left by 2035

( [email protected] ) Jan 23, 2014 04:05 PM EST
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, made a bold statement at the Davos World Economic Forum in his latest newsletter on Tuesday.
Bill Gates

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, made a bold statement at the Davos World Economic Forum in his latest newsletter on Tuesday.

The 25-page report, written by Bill and Melinda Gates, who are the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stated that the world has been made a better place than it has before. 

The report opens up with an introduction, telling readers that the world has made significant strides in becoming self-sufficient and that several myths have been hurting efforts to put an end to poverty.

"By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives," Bill Gates writes. "Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can't solve extreme poverty and disease isn't just mistaken. It is harmful. That's why in this year's letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same." 

The report addresses three major myths that both Bill and Melinda Gates believe has hindered people's efforts to fight against poverty.

1.      "Poor countries are doomed to stay poor."

2.      "Foreign Aid is a big waste."

3.      "Saving lives leads to overpopulation."

In the response to the first myth, Gates makes a very optimistic statement.

"By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world," Gates writes. "Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments."

Gates went on to prove that once-impoverished countries are now improving significantly with before and after photographs of major cities such as Mexico City, Nairobi and Shanghai. He even testified about his trip to Mexico City, reminiscing about the lack of running water and how people trekked long distances to fill up jugs with water. Now the city is significantly improved.

"Today, the city is mind-blowingly different. Its air is as clean as Los Angeles' (which isn't great, but certainly an improvement from 1987). There are high-rise buildings, new roads, and modern bridges," Gates stated. "There are still slums and pockets of poverty, but by and large when I visit there now I think, 'Wow, most people who live here are middle-class. What a miracle.'"

Gates also stated that foreign aid is not a big waste of money. According to a chart he posted, through financial aid 440 million children have received vaccination and immunization since 2000, 2.5 billion children were immune to polio since 1988, and 6.1 million people received antiretroviral therapy. He included a video by celebrity scientist, Bill Nye the Science Guy, to support his claim.

"Health aid is a phenomenal investment," Gates writes. "When I look at how many fewer children are dying than 30 years ago, and how many people are living longer and healthier lives, I get quite optimistic about the future."

Gates' wife, Melinda, went on to dispel the third myth about overpopulation. According to her findings, there is a correlation between the children's mortality rate and the mothers' fertility rate, as proven by her chart of Brazil's mortality, fertility, and population growth rate. The chart shows over the years from 1965 to now that as the children's mortality rate lowers, so does the fertility rate and population growth rate. Melinda Gates' verdict?

"The planet does not thrive when the sickest are allowed to die off, but rather when they are able to improve their lives," Gates writes. "Human beings are not machines. We don't reproduce mindlessly. We make decisions based on the circumstances we face."

Gates also used Mozambique as an example, stating that many mothers gave birth to more children because of the reality they had to face; they can't be confident that their kids will live a long life. She also mentioned how she met many mothers who shared stories about their lost children.

At the end of the report, Bill Gates closes with a call to action for the readers.

"If you read the news every day, it's easy to get the impression that the world is getting worse. There is nothing inherently wrong with focusing on bad news, of course-as long as you get it in context," Gates said. "We all have the chance to create a world where extreme poverty is the exception rather than the rule, and where all children have the same chance to thrive, no matter where they're born. For those of us who believe in the value of every human life, there isn't any more inspiring work under way in the world today."

The report closed with a Twitter hashtag, "#stopthemyth," to bring awareness about this report to the social media.