|Philanthropist Bill Gates Sounds Warning on Cuts to Development Aid
|Bill Gates gives $5 billion a year
to development aid,
making him one of the world's most generous philanthropists.
In a speech
at London's Royal United Services Institute this week,
he voiced fears
that the political tide is turning against foreign aid.
"It concerns me
that some world leaders are interpreting recent events
as reasons to turn inward
instead of seeing them for what they are:
problems that although they are difficult and will take time,
can be solved -
if we invest in the long-term solutions
that are necessary."
The United States remains by far the world's biggest donor,
funding long-term programs and emergency relief
across the globe.
But U.S. President Donald Trump is proposing
to cut the $43-billion foreign aid budget
as part of efforts
to reduce government debt.
many critics of foreign aid don't realize the huge progress
that has been achieved.
"If you could only pick one number
to highlight the effectiveness of the development agenda
I would pick the number 122 million.
That's the number of children's lives
that have been saved."
Bill Gates' speech in London comes
as Britain gears up
for a snap election in June.
The UK is one of the few developed countries
to meet the U.N. aid budget target
of 0.7 percent of GDP.
Current Prime Minister Theresa May has committed
to keeping that pledge
but many in her party want aid money diverted
to the military.
he wanted to make the case for the facts.
"When aid is mismanaged
it is a double crime,
stealing both from the taxpayer and the poor.
But let's be clear.
The bulk of this aid is getting to its recipients
and having an incredible effect.
There will always be a need to adjust,
we're working in very tough countries,
so you'll never get 100 percent perfect effectiveness.
But you can learn.
And every year,
the aid is better spent."
Aid agencies say
the debate couldn’t come at a worse time,
with around 65 million refugees around the world,
worsening conflicts in the Middle East
and famine striking East Africa.
Henry Ridgwell for VOA News, London