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Posts tagged ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’

Bill Gates Predicts Almost No Poor Countries Left by 2035.

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, said that by 2035 no nation will be as poor as any of the 35 that the World Bank now classifies as low-income, even adjusting for inflation.

Most countries will have higher per-person income by 2035 than China does now, Gates said in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter published today. He argued against what he called “three myths” that block progress for the poor: poor countries are doomed to stay poor; foreign aid is a big waste; and saving lives leads to over-population.

“The facts are on the side of the optimists,” Gates, 58, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview today with Betty Liu. “It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous.”

The Gates Foundation has distributed $28.3 billion in grants since 1997 to fund projects in global health and development and education programs in the U.S., according to the organization’s website.

Almost all countries will be what are now called lower- middle income or richer by 2035, Gates said in the letter. They will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations such as new vaccines, better seeds and the digital revolution, he said.

Poverty, Disease

“The belief that the world is getting worse, that we can’t solve extreme poverty and disease, isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful,” Gates wrote. “By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. In two decades it will be better still.”

A few countries will be held back by war and politics, Gates said, citing North Korea, or geography, such as landlocked nations in central Africa. Still, he predicts that more than 70 percent of countries will have a higher per-person income than China now, and almost 90 percent of nations will be above today’s India.

Health aid is a “phenomenal investment,” Gates, the co- founder of Microsoft Corp., said in the letter. Helped by foreign aid, the number of polio-endemic countries was reduced to 3 from 125 since 1988. With the right investments and changes in policies, by 2035, every country will have child-mortality rates that are as low as the rates in the U.S. or the U.K. in 1980, Gates said, citing research by the foundation and economists published in the Lancet last month.

When children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families, Melinda Gates wrote in the letter. And the pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birth rates applies for the vast majority of the world, she said.

“Headlines in a way are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not,” Bill Gates said in the interview. “We almost have to take a letter like this and speak out and say, ‘Wait a minute, despite how bad we feel about what’s not yet done, we have some approaches that work.’ And the cynicism is holding us back.”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths.

Image: Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths

By Elliot Jager

Bill and Melinda Gates have released their foundation’s annual letter, which instead of sketching out their worldwide philanthropic agenda for the coming year aims to debunk three public policy myths about poverty.

The Gates Foundation letter argues that it is not true that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor,” that “foreign aid is a big waste,” or that “saving lives leads to overpopulation,” Forbes magazine reported Tuesday.

Bill Gates writes that most countries “we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.”

Gates is not saying poverty and inequality will disappear. Overall, though, he is optimistic for all countries except those “held back by war, politics (North Korea, barring a big change there), or geography (landlocked nations in central Africa).”

Regarding foreign aid, Gates says the belief that U.S. aid does not work “gives political leaders an excuse to try to cut back on it — and that would mean fewer lives are saved, and more time before countries can become self-sufficient.”

It also does not cost a lot, he notes. The U.S. spends less than one percent of its annual budget on foreign aid, he says, or about $30 billion. Gates breaks that down to $11 billion for public health and $19 billion for infrastructure.

While he acknowledges that aid is sometimes stolen by corrupt local government officials, he notes that corruption is just as bad if not worse in the United States.

“Four of the past seven governors of Illinois have gone to prison for corruption, and to my knowledge no one has demanded that Illinois schools be shut down or its highways closed,” he writes.

For her part, Melinda Gates tackles the myth that saving lives makes the planet unsustainable.

“Saving lives doesn’t lead to overpopulation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world,” she writes.

The Gates Foundation disbursed $3.4 billion in grants during 2012, and has given out more than $28.3 billion since 2006 for various programs around the globe.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Buffett’s Charity Auction Draws Winning Bid of $1 Million.

The annual charity auction of a private lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett went for just more than $1 million Friday night — a bargain price compared to past years for an opportunity to sit down with one of the world’s most successful philanthropists.

An anonymous donor had the high bid of $1,000,100 when the bidding ended Friday night on eBay. The private audience with investor drew bids of more than $2 million in each of the past five years, including last year’s record-setting winning bid of $3,456,789.

All proceeds go to the Glide Foundation, which helps the poor and homeless in San Francisco. The nonprofit relies on the auction to provide a significant chunk of its $17 million annual budget.

Editor’s Note: Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

“It means a lot to us to make sure we continue meeting the needs of the people who need it most,” said the Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide’s founder.

Last year’s Buffett lunch was the most-expensive charity item ever sold on eBay. The most expensive item ever sold on eBay was a jet that drew $4.9 million in 2001, eBay spokeswoman Karen Sayah said.

Buffett said he will spend several hours discussing whatever the winner wants to talk about, except that Berkshire Hathaway‘s chairman and CEO won’t talk about potential investments.

The owners of New York’s Smith & Wollensky steakhouse have again donated $10,000 to Glide, so they can host the meal with Buffett. But for the past three years the winners have chosen to remain anonymous, and they dined with Buffett at one of his favorite Omaha steak restaurants.

Since 2006, Buffett has been gradually giving away his fortune. He plans to eventually divide most of his shares of Berkshire stock between five charitable foundations, with the largest chunk going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Buffett has raised nearly $15 million for Glide with these auctions over the years. He has supported Glide ever since his late first wife, Susan, introduced him to Williams.

Glide is marking its 50th anniversary this year, and Buffett said he believes the charity does a remarkable job helping people the world has written off find hope and become contributing members of society again.

Buffett’s Berkshire owns roughly 80 subsidiaries, including clothing, furniture and jewelry firms. Its insurance, utility and railroad businesses typically account for more than half of the company’s net income. It also has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Editor’s Note: Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Vaccine group funds cervical cancer immunizations for poor.

LONDON (Reuters) – The GAVI global vaccines group is to help protect more than 180,000 girls in eight countries across Africa and Asia from cervical cancer by funding immunization projects withvaccines from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

The non-profit GAVI Alliance, which funds bulk-buy vaccination programs for poor nations, said on Monday that Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Tanzania would be the first countries to get its support for cervical cancer protection pilot projects.

Merck’s Gardasil and GSK‘s Cervarix vaccines are the world’s only two approved shots designed to protect against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes the vast majority of cervical cancer cases.

More than 85 percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing nations and 275,000 women die of the disease each year. This means cervical cancer now kills more women worldwide than childbirth, claiming a life every two minutes, GAVI said.

Experts say the annual worldwide cervical cancer death rate could rise to 430,000 by 2030 if no action is taken to protect more women from it.

“Introducing the HPV vaccine in developing countries is the start of a global effort to protect all girls against cervical cancer,” GAVI chief executive Seth Berkley said in a statement.

A study published in 2011 found that since 1980 new cervical cancer case numbers and deaths have dropped substantially in rich countries – many of which have screening programs and have also recently introduced HPV vaccinations – but risen dramatically in Africa and other poor regions.


GAVI – backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, donor governments and others – has been working with the vaccine manufacturers to secure the most affordable price for the shots.

Merck has said it is prepared to offer Gardasil to GAVI countries at a deeply discounted price of $5 per dose, meaning a three-dose course would cost $15. GAVI has previously described this as a “a good starting offer”.

The pilot projects are designed to give countries a chance to test whether they can put in place the systems needed to roll out HPV vaccines nationally.

Unlike most other vaccines, which are given to babies and children under age five, HPV vaccines are designed to be given to girls aged nine to 13 in an effort to protect them before they are likely to become sexually active.

One major challenge to effectively delivering HPV vaccines is that many developing countries do not offer routine health services for girls in this age group. But GAVI said initial experience in offering HPV vaccines through schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America had been encouraging.

By 2015, GAVI says it hopes to help more than 20 countries immunize around a million girls with HPV vaccines through pilot projects, and by 2020 it hopes to have helped more than 30 million girls in over 40 countries to get the vaccine.

(Editing by Stephen Powell)


By Kate Kelland | Reuters

Bill Gates Hates Cash. Here’s Why.

  • Yahoo! Finance/Getty Images –

Billionaires are known for not keeping a lot of spending green in their wallets. But that’s not why Bill Gates hates cash. He hates it because of its effect on people at the opposite end of the wealth spectrum—the world’s poor and unbanked. The Better Than Cash Alliance, which was founded last September and is partially financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, hosted a breakfast at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Speakers from the Philippines, Colombia, and the U.S., among other countries, made the case for why electronic transactions are better than cash payments.

Top five reasons, according to the alliance:

Transparency: Less corruption and theft when payments can be easily tracked. In Afghanistan, U.S. aid agencies use it so workers aren’t so vulnerable to robbery.

Security: The money gets where it’s supposed to go.

Financial inclusion: Electronic payment is a way for unbanked people to establish a record of on-time payment of their bills. This can be an “on-ramp” for them to get other services, such as loans, speakers said.

Cost savings: Moving physical cash around is costlier than zipping electrons. Many poor people, however, still find it cheaper to use cash, because some cashless networks charge high fees.

Access to new markets: This benefit is mainly for providers of financial services.

Kenya is a role model for the developing world when it comes to cashless payment. Its M-Pesanetwork, launched in 2007, has agents “on every block,” says Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive of Mercy Corps, a nonprofit that’s a member of the alliance. Mauricio Cárdenas, Colombia’s minister of finance and public credit, said in an interview that he hopes within the year the national legislature will pass a law allowing nonbanks to take in cash and issue electronic vouchers.

The key is ensuring that the people who take in the cash are as well-supervised as bank tellers. “We see this as a first step,” Cárdenas said.

BusinessWeek By Peter Coy | BusinessWeek

The 10 healthiest countries in the world for both men and women.

Japan leads the way for both genders. America? Not even close…
A young Japanese family admires decorations in Tokyo: The Asian country is the healthiest across the globe for both men and women.
A young Japanese family admires decorations in Tokyo: The Asian country is the healthiest across the globe for both men and women.
Ji Chunpeng/Xinhua Press/Corbis

he good news: People around the world are living longer. The not-so-good news? That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re living healthier lives. In the newly released Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, published in the Lancet and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 486 researchers from 302 institutions worldwide put together “the most detailed look at health on the population level ever attempted,” says David Brown at the Washington Post.

The main takeaway? Childhood mortality rates have declined 60 percent worldwide between 1990 and 2010, and average life spans have correspondingly lengthened. At the same time, more people are spending large chunks of their twilight years living with disabilities (mental disorders, musculoskeletal pain, vision loss, hearing loss, among others) — an average of 9.2 years for men, and 11.5 years for women. “We are in transition to a world where disability is the dominant concern as opposed to premature death,” said Christopher J.L. Murray of the University of Washington, who led the study.

Which country’s citizens were the least susceptible to disease, had the best health care, and lived the longest, most comfortable lives? Unsurprisingly, Japan — for both men and women. “No one knows whether it’s their great diet, good health care, or just great genes,” says Dr. Lauren Browne at ABC News, “but after two decades the Japanese are still the healthiest people in the world.” The United States tied with Norway for 29th place in male healthy life expectancy rankings, and for females, tied with Estonia for 33rd place. Here’s how the Top 10 countries break down for both males and females:

Highest male healthy life expectancies

1. Japan
2. Singapore
3. Switzerland
4. Spain
5. Italy
6. Australia
7. Canada
8. Andorra
9. Israel
10. South Korea

Highest female healthy life expectancies

1. Japan
2. South Korea
3. Spain
4. Singapore
5. Taiwan
6. Switzerland
7. Andorra
8. Italy
9. Australia
10. France

Sources: ABC NewsGuardianWashington Post, WHO.


By Chris Gayomali

What the condom of the future might look like.



Not much has changed since the latex condom was first introduced in 1880. Now, researchers are trying to bring the contraceptive into the 21st century

The exact origin of the condom is a subject of debate, but many believe a rough form of the contraceptive came into use sometime around 1000 B.C. Images from the period show ancient Egyptian men wrapping their penises in linen sheaths, which in the 1500s were found to be useful in preventing pregnancy and blocking infection. That discovery eventually led to the first mass-produced condom in 1844, which was made of vulcanized rubber, a substance more familiarly used these days in car tires and hockey pucks. In a giant step for the comfort of mankind, the first latex condom was introduced in 1880.

Aside from a few incremental innovations — and countless gimmicks — condom technology has more or less remained unchanged for more than a century. Which isn’t to say research isn’t being poured into developing a better condom. It is currently the only contraceptive that simultaneously prevents pregnancy and the transmission of diseases like HIV, and health experts say improvements on the condom could have important public health benefits.

In 2008, TIME highlighted the work of German inventor Jan Vinzenz Krause, who is developing a spray-on latex condom for men. “The condom fits 100 percent perfectly,” Krause told TIME, “so the safety is much higher than a standard condom’s, and it feels more natural.” The only problem is that once it’s sprayed, the latex takes time to dry. For people to buy the product, it would have to be ready to use almost instantly.

In October of this year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded University of Washington researchers almost $1 million to pursue a new female condom made from a futuristic fabric that’s electrically spun from tiny, nanometer-sized fibers. This weaving process allows the condom’s fabric to do a number of things traditional latex can’t, such as delivering antiviral drugs, releasing chemical contraceptives into the bloodstream (just like the birth control patch), or even dissolving after a few days of wear.

Hannah Hickey at the University of Washington explains how the spinning process works:

Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets, or pills. No high temperatures are involved, so the method is suitable for heat-sensitive molecules.

In theory, an electrospun condom could be discreetly inserted into the vagina for a woman to wear. Once inserted, it would not only physically block sperm from entering the uterus, but it could time-release a potent cocktail of anti-HIV drugs and hormonal contraceptives. The woman wouldn’t have to worry about removing it, because the fibers of the condom would dissolve into the bloodstream after a few days. Then a new condom can be inserted.

Such a condom could have a huge impact in areas like sub-Saharan Africa, where deaths from AIDS-related diseases claimed 1.2 million lives in 2011, according to the latest UNAIDS report. It would also be welcome hanging next to Trojan packs in the U.S., which has the highest teen birthrate among developed countries.


By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week

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