Friday, November 04, 2011

Innovation with Impact: Bill Gates Asks G20 to Boost Development Efforts

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates addressed the G20 summit on Thursday as part of a continuing campaign for a Robin Hood tax on finance. Gates’ report, “Innovation with Impact: Financing 21st Century Development,” explained how developed and developing countries could raise an extra $48bn a year to fight global poverty by levying a small tax on share and bond trading. Despite hostility from Britain and the United States, Gates added weight to his campaign for a Robin Hood tax by explaining that a levy on finance would help hard-pressed nations meet their aid pledges to the poor. Underlying his recommendation is the idea that innovation can multiply the impact of resources.

In his report, Gates stresses the need for rich countries to continue their generosity, stating that if the G20 does not commit to increasing the pool of resources dedicated to development they risk causing irreparable damage to the livelihoods of millions of people. Beyond rich countries responsibility, Gates noted that the rapidly emerging economies represented in the G20 also play a growing role in driving progress and development. Gates also uses the report to identify new ways that the private sector can contribute to progress and development.

Gates said he thought his report would make a difference to the G20 discussions. "I think it will help keep development on the agenda when there is a temptation to look at short-term issues… If the G20 takes up this challenge, I'm optimistic we can get through this economic crisis and save millions of lives and lift millions more out of poverty."

- Madeline Lee