Bill and Melinda Gates Make Stunning Prediction for World’s Poor
29 January 2015 at 11:45 am
Two of the world’s biggest philanthropists have predicted that the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history.
Bill and Melinda Gates released their 2015 Gates Annual Letter this week, also predicting that the lives of the world’s poor will improve more than anyone else's.
The billionaire couple, who have pledged to give away 95 per cent of their $82 billion fortune, called their prediction a “big bet” and said the only other times they had done so was 40 years ago when Bill bet that software and personal computers would change the way people around the world worked and played and again 15 years ago when they started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the idea that by backing innovative work in health and education, they could help dramatically reduce inequality.
“We're putting our credibility, time, and money behind this bet – and asking others to join us – because we think there has never been a better time to accelerate progress and have a big impact around the world,” the couple said.
“Some will say we're irrational to make this bet too. A skeptic would look at the world's problems and conclude that things are only getting worse. And we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a handful of the worst-off countries will continue to struggle.
“But we think the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will be living longer and in better health. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking.
“These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology – ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets – and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people.”
The “big bet” was broken down into parts, with Bill and Melinda predicting:
- Child deaths will go down and more diseases will be wiped out.
- Africa will be able to feed itself.
- Mobile banking will help the poor transform their lives.
- Better software will revolutionise learning.
The couple said the rich world would keep getting exciting new advances too, but the improvements in the lives of the poor would be far more fundamental.
But they said that climate change would be one of the major forces opposing their prediction.
“It is fair to ask whether the progress we're predicting will be stifled by climate change. The most dramatic problems caused by climate change are more than 15 years away, but the long-term threat is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide,” they said.
“The next 15 years are a pivotal time when these energy sources need to be developed so they'll be ready to deploy before the effects of climate change become severe.”