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Gates Urges Governments, Wealthy Donors Not To Cut Aid To Poor Countries; Annual Letter Sets Foundation’s Priorities

In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “told European lawmakers in Brussels not to cut aid to poor countries despite the economic and budgetary problems facing” European Union (E.U.) countries, Agence France-Presse reports. Gates “praised the [E.U.] whose support in health and development he said has been greater than that of the United States,” AFP notes (1/24). On Wednesday, Gates “will be at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he plans to exhort wealthy donors — especially governments — to keep funding a range of crucial projects in the developing world, from tuberculosis drugs and antimalaria bed nets to maternal care and vaccines,” the Wall Street Journal writes. Gates “plans to make his case by showcasing ideas, backed by his foundation, that have helped cost-effectively tackle problems in global health,” according to the newspaper (Naik, 1/25).

Writing in his annual letter, which sets the foundation’s priorities for the coming year, Gates says that while eradicating polio remains the foundation’s “top priority,” “he is increasingly troubled by the lack of investment into new research in agriculture,” Forbes reports. “‘The world faces a clear choice,’ he writes. ‘If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation,'” the news service notes (Herper, 1/24). “Last year, Mr. Gates’s letter focused on the foundation’s efforts to develop and disseminate vaccines,” the New York Times’ “DealBook” writes (Pfanner, 1/24).