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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.

Gates argues

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

since 1990,

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.

Gates said

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




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