Gates: Foreign Aid is Good Investment

Rich countries stand to benefit from their continuous support for development projects in poor nations, Bill Gates argues in his third annual letter published Jan. 31.

“If societies can’t provide for people’s basic health, if they can’t feed and educate people, then their populations and problems will grow and the world will be a less stable place,” Gates writes. “Whether you believe it a moral imperative or in the rich world’s enlightened self-interest, securing the conditions that will lead to a healthy, prosperous future for everyone is a goal I believe we all share.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair says he is concerned that economic woes will force donor governments to scale down their foreign aid budgets, putting health and agricultural assistance for the poor at risk.

Gates argues that aid is a good investment, explaining that “aid for the poorest has already achieved a lot.” He notes that the world is close to eradicating polio and has made “very good progress” in the the fight against malaria.

Gates makes a case for increased funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts, where he says the world is also making headway, though at a slower pace. He also calls for increased investments in the agricultural sectors of developing countries.

About the author

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    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.