In an extensive opinion piece in The New York Times, businessman Bill Gates analyzes the current situation in the world, and sends a pessimistic message about the current situation of poverty, the environment, malnutrition, and maternal mortality. ..
Gates and his ex-wife, the co-founder of the Melinda French Gates Foundation, in the annual report that analyzes the state of the world write that after seven years, the world is on track to achieve almost none of its goals.
We are already halfway into @TheGlobalGoals era. 🌎— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) September 13, 2022
Looking ahead to 2030—world leaders must not give up on ambitious goals and keep investing in innovations to solve these global challenges. Learn more in the 2022 Goalkeepers Report. #Goalkeepers2030 https://t.co/3nevS2rBeg
Poverty in the world
The goal was to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere,” and since 2015, the percentage of the world living on less than $1.90 a day has dropped to only about 8% from just over 10%.
Malnutrition in the world
“The prevalence of growth stunting in children under 5 years of age is still higher than 20%”, a fact that particularly worries him due to the lack of food for children and the malnutrition that especially affects women and mothers above all.
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Maternal mortality is more than double the standard set by the 2015 goals.
“As it stands now, we’d need to speed up the pace of our progress five times faster to meet most of our goals—and even that might be an underestimate because some of the projections don’t yet account for the impact of the pandemic, let alone the war in Ukraine or the food crisis it kicked off in Africa, ”says the introduction to the report signed by Bill and Melinda Gates.
Pandemic and war in Ukraine
“We’re in a worse place than I expected. The effects of the pandemic and now the effects of the war in Ukraine are very dramatic, and there are huge setbacks on all these measures,” Gates told the New York Times. “And these measures are super important — even if we missed the goal, we’re still talking about millions of lives.”
Vaccines: protect the health
When it comes to routine vaccinations Gates said, “We’re at vaccination levels that we were at in 2009. But with the right funding in the next two years, we should get back to where we were pre-pandemic. And so I remain optimistic about these overall trends because of what we were doing up to the pandemic and because of the pipeline of innovation, which is pretty exciting, both on the health and agricultural fronts if we orchestrate enough resources.”
“The next five years are going to be challenging just to maintain the world’s attention,”
the philanthropist said about the numerous distractions like the war in Ukraine, interest rates, and debt has created for improving health and its consequences in different parts of the planet, on progress in Africa, food, malnutrition, poverty…
Agriculture and climate
“On Asia, I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic that India, in its own sort of up and down the way, will reduce poverty over time. But then we’re faced with the mind-blowing challenge of Africa, where population growth is still there,” Gates said on the long-term trend of eradicating real poverty. “Bad health is still there. And because so much of the continent is near the Equator, the climate change effects are very dramatic.”
He recognizes the work that China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Vietnam have done, where the progress of these countries is at all levels. Something that is totally related to the food crisis and the increase in hunger, which came right at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The increase in hunger really comes with the start of the pandemic. It’s gone up a lot and particularly with women, who get even more reduction in the calories available to them, which is pretty tragic.”
“We’ve underinvested in agricultural innovation.
The Green Revolution was one of the greatest things that ever happened. But then we lost track,” Gates feels about how the world is dealing with a global food shortage. “And the funding for public-domain seed systems has gone down. We’re trying to get that backup. The world has a goal to get that back up to like a little over $2 billion. I don’t know if we’ll get there.”
The four foods that will save Africa
Corn is number one in terms of improvement; then there is rice, then wheat, and then soybeans, then it comes down to all the things that are particularly important to Africa, he notes, pointing to export bans as one of the main impediments.