Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has call upon African countries to invest more in healthcare in an interview with the pan-African magazine on Wednesday.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of the Gates Foundation, with his wife Melinda Gates, also urged for accountability on aid meant for health and agriculture that constitutes “over half of what we do” in terms of delivery.
“I wish every election in Africa was about who can run the healthcare system best for everyone; who can run the agriculture systems best for everyone. Democracy, even in the West, is kind of unusual in terms of what priorities voters make choices on. But some governments really place expertise into healthcare and allocate an appropriate amount of finance to the health system,” he said.
On the growing debate on GMO seeds for agriculture, and whether his Foundation was a Trojan Horse for big multinationals, he said:
“The debate in Africa now is really not about the private sector at all, it’s about publicly-funded seeds that happen to use GMO-type techniques to create disease resistance, to improve productivity and use less water.”
He added with emphasis that “It is a bit strange for anybody to think we have ulterior motives in giving away tens of billions of dollars… if we are crazy, it must be for some other reason than pure greed.”
In their annual letter, Bill and Melinda wrote that every dollar spent on vaccination creates $44 in economic benefit. And looking into the future, their magic number is Zero. Zero polio; Zero malaria; Zero HIV and other diseases.
“Some of what we do is global public good, like making sure a new vaccine gets invented, that benefits everyone.”
The Foundation hosted its annual conference on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, yesterday.