Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has made a bold prediction that by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. In his annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates challenged three myths that he believes are hindering the progress of global development: that poor countries are doomed to stay poor, that foreign aid is a big waste, and that saving lives leads to overpopulation.
Gates argued that these myths are harmful and mistaken and that the world has become a better place in his lifetime. He cited data from the World Bank, the United Nations, and other sources to show that extreme poverty rates have been cut in half in the past 25 years, child mortality has plunged, and many nations that were once aid recipients have become self-sufficient.
Gates used the World Bank’s current definition of low-income countries, which is any country with a per capita Gross National Product of $1,035 or less. He said that there are 36 countries that fall into this category today, but he expects that number to drop dramatically by 2035. He wrote: By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments…More than 70 percent of countries will have a higher per-person income than China does today. Nearly 90 percent will have a higher income than India does today.
Gates acknowledged that some challenges remain, such as climate change, political instability and inequality. He also admitted that his prediction is optimistic and not everyone agrees with him. However, he said that he is willing to make a bet on the future of humanity and urged others to join him in fighting the myths that hold back progress.