Bill Gates makes a case for multilateralism

Countries should remain open if they want to reap the benefits of innovation, writes Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in an article for the Economist. He makes a case for keeping the borders open and working globally.

In his article for the Economist Bill Gates makes the case that disease, poverty and climate change are the major topics that require global co-operation. To improve the worldwide situation innovation is the key to success and innovation can only happen when scientists, policymakers and investors work together across borders, writes the co-founder of Microsoft and co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his article he reminds the reader that the past two decades have seen massive progress with child mortality halving since 1990, the percentage of desperately poor people dropping from 36% to 8% and deaths from HIV plummeting.

This progress is the result of a series of choices according to Gates. “It happens because people from around the world decide to work together on solving global problems,” he writes and continues: “This is one reason why I’m concerned about the current trend – in America and Europe – toward retreating from the open, multilateral approach that has driven so much progress.”

In his opinion if governments start withdrawing from their engagement in the world, it will slow and possibly reverse the progress that is made for saving lives and lifting people out of poverty. “For those of us who care about making the world a safer and more equitable place, it is the wrong choice,” Gates says.

As an example for the benefits of international cooperation and aid he explains how the progress in health and development can help alleviate the problems that make people want to withdraw in the first place. “Take mass migration: when we work together to help low-income countries strengthen their food and farming systems, we tackle some of the root causes of migration and instability,” Gates states. “If you want fewer people to be forced from their homes, cutting back on joint efforts to help them improve their lives will be counterproductive.”

In Gates’ opinion the topic is also one of leadership: “It is about which countries are going to lead the world in the future.” He writes how Americans and Europeans benefited from institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank, which – despite their limitations – are essential to solving the world’s problems in his opinion. 



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