Bill and Melinda Gates in 10th annual letter


From eradicating 98% of polio cases to putting up $US2 billion in grants to stop malaria, the philanthropic efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stretch far and wide.

With an endowment of more than $40 billion, the Gates Foundation has a scale and reach that touches most corners of the globe, making grants and funding partners who work on everything from reducing tobacco use in China to installing toilets in Africa and reforming USA public schools.

To make up Bill and Melinda Gates' Annual Letter for 2018, BellaNaija's founder Uche Pedro, alongside 9 other persons asked the philanthropic couple 10 tough questions.

In their 2018 annual letter, the couple point out that the number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and extreme poverty has declined by almost half in just 20 years.

Some of those questions are worded in a way that's intentionally biased-probably how they were first voiced.

This is the 10th annual letter the Gateses have published, which they're marking by answering 10 "tough questions" they frequently get. "All suffering is a awful tragedy", says Melinda.

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Being an optimist "isn't about knowing that life used to be worse. So that's what we've tried to do". Where we go, who we spend our time with, what we read and watch and listen to - these decisions are made through the prism of our work at the foundation (when we're not watching "The Crown" or "The Man in the High Castle.").Maybe 20 years ago we could have made a different choice about what to do with our wealth. In the USA numerous easy fixes like this are already available, which has lead to work on more complex issues that money alone can't solve. In December 2016, he launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a private investment fund that includes Amazon's Jeff Bezos and other business leaders. On the foundation side, there's a need to ensure that each investment yields a real gain, so the couple has looked at so-called "climate smart-crops" that are more adaptable to the sort of insane weather, pest, and diseases that will arise alongside global warming.

Why don't you give money to fight climate change? That buying power gets flexed with an agreement that protects the resulting intellectual property so it's accessible to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Bill said, adding "We are partners in both senses that people use the word these days: at home and at work".

The administration's policies affect our foundation's work in a number of areas. The letter cites Trump's proposed cuts to foreign aid, his "America First" worldview, his lack of respect for women and others, and hit shortcomings as a role model. "To its credit, Congress has moved to put the money back in the budget". In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

There's an emotional and economic argument to why this remains important. When Warren entrusted us with giving away a large portion of his wealth, we redoubled our efforts to live up to the values we share.

But when asked about the growing criticism that big technology companies like Facebook and Twitter have faced over their role in spreading misinformation, Gates said he hadn't "seen great solutions", though "I'm hopeful they'll come".