Bill Gates expresses concerns over political crisis in Ethiopia

Bill Gates expresses concerns over political crisis in Ethiopia

Bill Gates

Bill Gates expresses concerns over political crisis in Ethiopia

(thereporterethiopia)—-Launching the annual “letter”, a publication by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the foundation this year, the world richest person and billionaire Philanthropist Bill Gates has expressed concern on the ongoing political crisis in Ethiopia.

While talking about the annual “letter” on Tuesday via a telephonic press conference to African journalists, Gates was asked by The Reporter about the ongoing political situation in Ethiopia.

“That’s certainly disappointing and disturbing to hear about political unrest in any of the countries we work in. I am not at all an expert on the different regional tensions and exactly what’s going on. I certainly hope for the sake of all of Ethiopia that there is a way to solve these political conflicts and return to a stable situation. I hope that can be achieved,’’ Gates said.

According to Gates, his focus in Ethiopia is on health and agriculture in which Gates and his foundation are supporting the works of Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), a state agency working in the areas of quality seed, fertilizer and soil categorization and the like. From the health sector perspective, Gates was vocal on the improvement of primary healthcare and the progresses of “brining childhood deaths down”. Gates argued that when things are stable such works have been impressive. “There are some real bright possibilities for Ethiopia, but the political instability could disrupt all these progress. So, I hope the various leaders are able to work things out,” he said.

During an exclusive interview with The Reporter, Haddis D. Tadesse, director for Ethiopia and the African Union with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also said that the political unrest present a challenge to the development and the move towards extricating people out of poverty. “The political situation has implications on business and commerce. In our case, when businesses and exports slow down which has implications on hard currency which the country needs in a greater deal”, Haddis said. He reiterated that the stability of the country hopefully will be maintained.

While addressing what Gates called “the ten toughest questions” that he and Melinda received over the years, Gates mentioned the question “how president Trump’s policies are affecting the foundation’s activities”. Gates begins to reflect his views saying: “The administration’s policies affect our foundation’s work in a number of areas. The concrete example is foreign aid.” He also added that he is concerned with the “America First” worldview, President Trump advertised during his campaigns. In addition to that, Gates reasoned that the global leadership is better when it is in the hands of the U.S., “exerting both hard and soft powers”.

In the annual “letter” both Melinda and Gates have pointed out that they have invested USD 15 billion in the past 18 years on their philosophic work. That according to Haddis is paying off in areas of reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child mortality rates, in the development of vaccines and other healthcare systems. He is positive that before 2030, cure for HIV/AIDS is likely to be available.

Regarding its operations in Ethiopia, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has so far believed to have invested around USD 700 million and currently finances 200 projects across the country.