Bill Gates says the richest countries, companies, and people should be 'more generous'

Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation attends the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2024.
Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum.REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
  • Bill Gates spoke on a Davos panel called "Addressing the North-South Schism."

  • He said the richest countries, companies, and people, "should be pushed to be more generous."

  • Gates also called for focusing on the highest-impact areas and more innovation for the Global South's needs.

Bill Gates called on the richest countries and people to give more money to the Global South, during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Microsoft founder made the comments during a Wednesday session called "Addressing the North-South Schism."

"We find ourselves at a juncture where the demand for resources exceeds the resources available and the needs coming out of Ukraine, the Middle East, climate mitigation, climate adaptation," Gates said.

"The needs are pretty incredible."

The world's sixth-richest person proposed three solutions — the first being more generosity, which he described as "imperative."

"Those who have the most — whether it's countries, companies, or individuals — should be pushed to be more generous," he said.

Gates used the example of a target first set out by the United Nations in 1970, which calls on economically advanced countries to give away 0.7% of their gross national income in aid.

As of 2022 only Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Luxembourg met or exceeded this target, per the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Gates' second idea proposed focusing on the highest-impact areas by asking countries about their priorities, such as health, nutrition, or education.

"I would say that there's almost a factor of 100 difference between some initiatives versus others," he added.

In his final point, Gates said: "There's been far too little innovation on the needs of the Global South, whether it's malaria, whether it's their crops."

"The amount we put into improving that agricultural productivity is dramatically less than it should be," he added.

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