Lives of the poor will improve faster in next 15 years: Bill Gates

NEW YORK. KAZINFORM - The next 15 years will see major breakthroughs in health, education, mobile banking and agriculture, and the poor's lives will also get better than any time in history, Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said.

"In the next 15 years, we'll make more progress than ever before," Gates said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, speaking of the foundation's ambitious goals laid out in its 2015 Annual Letter published Wednesday night. This year's annual letter, entitled "Our Big Bet for the Future," pins down the four major areas - health, farming, education and mobile banking - where the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries, Xinhua reports. "In my annual letter this year, I talk about what we think we can do in the next 15 years -- how we can get sanitation to everyone in the world, how we can get banking services through the mobile phone, and how we can improve health," he said. "And that all the countries in the world, at some point, can be self-sufficient," said Gates, the world richest man whose wealth, by one estimate, equals the annual GDP of Ecuador, while contributing nearly all his assets to philanthropy to promote health equity and help the poor. And thanks to these breakthroughs powered by technological innovation, "the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the coming 15 years than at any other time in history," Gates said in the annual letter. On genetically modified organism (GMOs) technology, Gates lent cautiously his support for its application in developing good seeds for farming, despite the controversy surrounding the technology over the years. "The safety record with GMOs is pretty incredible, I mean, billions and billions meals have been eaten using this (technology). We should think of it the same thing as we think about medicine," he said. "I think a lot of poor countries will take full advantage of the latest science here to have better productivity," he added. As for the advent of online learning softwares, which the annual letter described as an agent to "revolutionize learning," Gates spoke highly of their potential and predicted "fantastic" progress in the next 10 to 15 years. "It will become a key supplement for people who want to learn something, be preparing for a job. It won't eliminate the classroom, we always have the classroom in that relationship with the teacher, but the online materials will be a very key supplement," he said. Speaking of mobile banking, another area where the letter predicted will help the poor radically transform their lives, Gates voiced his confidence in the prospect of its widely use despite concerns that underdeveloped areas where literacy rate is usually very low could simply turn down this new technology. Read more

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