Bill Gates: International Community to Miss MDG's 2015 Deadline

Bill Gates at the European Parliament on April 5. Photo by: European Union 2011 PE-EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari

The U.N. Millennium Development Goals can be reached if donor countries keep their commitments to increase aid spending to 0.7 percent of their incomes, but the 2015 deadline will be likely missed by up to six years, U.S. billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has predicted.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation trustee made the remarks in front of the European Parliament’s Development Committee on Tuesday (April 5).

“The increase, if we got to this 0.7 percent, would be €20 billion in addition to what is being given today. Given what we now know on how to spend that money well, it would make a huge difference,” EUobserver quotes Gates.

He said this would give the international community the money to meet the MDGs, “not by 2015, but within 10 years,” he added.

Gates lauded Europe’s “phenomenal commitment” to the international aid target. Members of the European Parliament urged Gates to press EU leaders and the European Commission to ensure higher development funding for the period 2014-2020, according to a statement by the European Parliament.

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs assured that the bloc is on track to achieve the 0.7 percent target, Euronews reports.

Piebalgs, who also met with Gates Tuesday, said he discussed with the Gates Foundation co-founder possibilities of a joint cooperation in agriculture.

“We … mentioned possibility for joint work in some agricultural corridors in Africa for instance. I am looking forward to implanting these ideas on the ground,” Piebalgs writes in his blog.

Gates also called on banks, mining companies, drugmakers and other private firms to scale up their contribution to foreign aid. Private philanthropy, he said, only contributed 2 percent to world aid flows, the Guardian reports.

“We could grow it. Philanthropy contributes more than its proportional share. It will never offset anything done by big governments but … you would expect people of wealth to do it more. We need more philanthropists – drug companies, banks, mobile phone, mineral companies,” he told MEPs.

Gates was visiting Europe to promote his Living Proof campaign, which aims to spread stories on smart aid investments and successful aid projects.

>> Living Proof Campaign Goes to France

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.