Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been urging the European Union and its member governments to sustain foreign aid in their budgets, especially in tough economic times. His visit is also to promote the activities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, helping the world’s poorest people.
Gates said: “The story of aid is one that needs to be told better because it’s a story of great importance: we are talking about something that literally saves millions of lives every year. We are talking about money that is making the difference in terms of whether farmers can grow enough food to feed their family, whether they can lift their family out of poverty.”
Gates presented the work of his foundation in the key areas of vaccination and agriculture, where he said aid gets the best results. He also met the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs.
Piebalgs said: “Bill Gates demonstrates the so called niche-approach: HIV, tuberculosis, diarrhea, and particularly focusing on children. I think it is very clear encouragement: take a [specific] problem and try to solve it.”
Piebalgs said the EU is on track to reach a development assistance goal of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015. He praised Britain for increasing aid even during the recession.