Bill Gates tells MEPs: EU is vital donor in global fight against poverty

Bill Gates tells MEPs: EU is vital donor in global fight against poverty

24 October 2018

It was standing room only in the Development Committee last week for Bill Gates who was in Brussels to deliver a clear message: that aid works, that it saves lives and that if the EU continues to invest in development policy, this will encourage other players, like the US Congress, to do the same.

Bill Gate’s message is timely. The EU has is moving into a period where it is setting out its spending plans up until 2028, a timeframe that almost coincides with the 2030 timetable for ending poverty the world has given itself with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the world’s report card, Bill Gates said, adding that he remains optimistic that if the global community works together, we can tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change: already we have seen a drop in the number of people living in extreme poverty from 70% in 1970 to 10% today, the number earning less than $1.90 per day has fallen from 37% in 1990 to just 9.6% in 2015 and 27m lives have being saved by programmes such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS TB and Malaria, which the UK, EU and the Gates Foundation jointly fund.

Bill Gates speaking at the Development Committee in the European Parliament

At a time when development aid spending is coming under pressure from all sides - particularly in the U.K. from right-wing commentators - this was an important reminder for MEPs and governments debating the new EU budget and planning a route to the SDGs that commitments like the UK’s to spend 0.7% of its GDP on aid not only save lives, but contribute to a fairer and more stable world.

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