Bill Gates takes up the cudgels for development policy

Bill Gates takes up the cudgels for development policy Bill Gates
German development aid is under scrutiny. But Bill Gates has a clear opinion on the matter: The money from Germany saves many lives.

Frankfurt (KNA) Bill Gates (68) has taken up the cudgels in favour of development cooperation. “The fact is that development cooperation – if implemented correctly – can do an incredible amount of good in the world,” writes the founder of Microsoft in a column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday, referring to the debate in Germany. At the same time, he emphasises: “We should have serious discussions about what works and what doesn’t.” In the face of dwindling funds, we should concentrate on measures that have the greatest impact.

Germany has played a pioneering role in global development for many years, praises the multi-billionaire, who invests large parts of his fortune in the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation founded by him and Melinda Gates and promotes global health.

Commitment to global health

Gates refers in particular to Germany’s commitment to global health. Since its foundation in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has saved an estimated 59 million lives. “This was possible in part because the fund is one of the main recipients of German multilateral aid in the area of health.” The contribution for the period 2023 to 2025 alone is enough to finance HIV medication for two million people, tuberculosis screenings for 24 million people and 99 million mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

“Financial resources for global health only make up a small percentage of the German development aid budget, but they have a huge impact,” emphasises the multi-billionaire. In the space of a single generation, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has halved. “These are millions who can grow up, go to school, find work and give something back to their communities and their country. If this happens, these countries can go from being recipient countries to donor countries.”

Poor countries have to repay large loans

This is why it is so worrying that many countries are reconsidering their commitment to development cooperation, stagnating or even cutting their budgets. “The countries of the global South are currently receiving less development aid than they have to spend on repaying loans.”

According to Gates, all of this is happening at the worst possible time. As a result of the pandemic, climate change and acute conflicts, 122 million more people are currently affected by hunger than in 2019. For the first time in a generation, extreme poverty is also on the rise again: from 619 million people in 2019, it has risen to 712 million by 2022. “At the same time, there has never been as much innovation as today. Advances in artificial intelligence are accelerating the development of new medicines, diagnostics and therapies and making them more affordable than ever before. But without funding, all these promising innovations will never reach those who need them most.”

German development policy is currently the subject of much debate during the budget negotiations. In particular, the construction of cycle paths and the expansion of public transport in Peru are causing uproar among critics.