Bill Gates: Aid does work

  • Tim Weber
  • 27 Jan 07, 10:40 AM

Richard has already done a good write-up of the breakfast with Bill and Melinda Gates.

I just wanted to add two points:
When asked whether a lot of money spent on aid was wasted, Bill got really passionate. Of course some aid projects were unsuccessful or misguided, but that didn't mean that aid doesn't work, he said.

"That would be a bit like saying Silicon Valley is unsuccessful because 70% of companies there fail," he said and pointed to the millions of people saved - for example 2.3 million lives saved just through Gavi, the vaccination campaign backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Oh, and one other thing. Put aside your feelings about Bill Gates, Microsoft, Windows and all the rest.

The man's command of facts and detail is astounding. Talking about aid in the developing world he knows how fertiliser is distributed in certain provinces of Nigeria (which hurts farmers) and can recall detailed statistics about mortality rates for certain diseases in specific countries.

I wonder whether the development and aid sector knows what will hit them once he directs most of his energies on his charitable work, after he semi-retires from Microsoft in 2008.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:55 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • E Hart wrote:

I have wonder what constituency many of the delegates to the World Economic Forum represent. What are Rupert Murdoch's qualifications? As far as I understand it, he inherited a newspaper from his father and went on to accumulate more. Other than capital, what or who does he represent?

There is no doubt that the representatives of Coca Cola, News International etc. are highly influential people but the question remains: who do they represent?

Many of these people are glorified accountants, who exert undue influence and power relative to the good they do.

There is an element of Midas and Croesus in all this...

  • 2.
  • At 04:57 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • D. Y. Manful wrote:

Why do the organisers of the "World Economic Forum" use the term “delegates” to describe participants of the Davos forum? Who are the delegates representing? And how do the organisers ensure accountability? Are the delegates accountable to shareholders, stakeholders, the organisers or the ordinary global citizen?

Most of the citizenry of the world, in both rich and poor countries are increasingly becoming weary of the cosy relationship between politicians and the global commercial elite. Although Davos has a role to play in the resolution of global problems, the organisers need to seriously evaluate their objectives. The forum needs to be broad based instead of seeking to service the ambitions of corporations whose only interest is the bottom-line. We know, from history, that failing to seek and incorporate the views of a broader spectrum of society is a fine recipe for a fall sense of security.

  • 3.
  • At 06:31 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Justin Temblett-Wood wrote:

Interesting to hear about Bill Gate's grasp of detailed facts and his passion.

Whatever people think of Microsoft, Bill and Melinda are clearly committed to making a difference and channelling their wealth to the common good. Encouraging to hear!

  • 4.
  • At 06:56 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Vijay K Vijayaratnam wrote:

It does not surprise me that economic experts are treated as backroom boys and economic topics buries under thew piles of topic such as climatic change and poverty reduction terminologies which is more general than specialist economic topics of exchange rate mechanism and inflation and monetary policy ,one tend to expect at forums such as this.Now the trend shifted to rich and famous dominating the agenda alongside the world leaders.This is a opportunity to take a stock of what was promissed at world sustainable development forum and millennium goals of UN to see the performance of countries and commit for meaningful action.

  • 5.
  • At 07:50 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Mark Selby wrote:

Does the world have to be limited to Monopolistic nonsense before we "help each other"? Open Source is all about the world working together, and Microsoft is desperate to kill it.

  • 6.
  • At 09:02 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Saddah Aziz wrote:

I hate to be the Cynic but Bill Gate's passion and grasp of detailed facts have brought success and achievements only to himself, the world is not really any better, is it?

A friend of mine once described "working with one of his colleagues is like being a man short".

The similarities are too great for me to ignore.

  • 7.
  • At 06:50 PM on 28 Jan 2007,
  • Geoff wrote:

Contrary to the last post, Bill Gates blatantly HAS made the world better through the Gavi project and others. His software has also revolutionised business and when I hear people complain about Windows I just to say, well don't buy it then! Needless to say, they do continue to buy it because it is actually really good! BG is as successful as he is for a reason, and the fact that he is channelling his super-sharp brain to alleviating poverty can only be a good thing. He's an inspiration to us all. Good on you Bill!!

Dear readers,

I highly appreciate Bill Gates and Melinda Gates for taking their responsibilities; and in my opinion we really need more people like them. Not many rich people are willing to use their wealth (and influence) in the non-violent fight against poverty and injustice. The main goal of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is to attack global problems being ignored by governments and other organizations, and I am convinced that their foundation will make a difference!

Yours sincerely,

Maurits van den Noort

University of Bergen

  • 9.
  • At 01:39 PM on 01 Feb 2007,
  • Susie Mehta wrote:

Gulp! Hold the press!

Gates (both of them now) are going to save the world from itself. So what if Microsoft dominates the market, and the Foundation is an extension of McKinsey, B&M will have an impact!
B&M have some answers. Ahem, their team of 'global experts' that is. And, they're backing it with money, lots of it, putting it into communities to solve the problems and to SAVE lives. Not just talking endlessly but actaully doing something for some of the most intractable problems facing our planet.
Better to have a scientifically inclined Gates aiding the poor than more aid wrapped in national flags, un colors and the world bank. None of these have had much impact so, hey, lets give the Gates a chance!

Maurits is right. We need more people like Bill and Melinda in the world!!

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