On 28 January, the second richest man in the world Bill Gates, according to Forbes, and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), promised to continue providing financial aid to countries in need, despite the Euro crisis.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with the SPD officials, the billionaire philanthropist said that there have been recent gains in fighting hunger, disease and poverty. He emphasised that over the past 20 years, the number of children dying before the age of five shrank from 20 million in 1960 to less than 6.9 million in 2011. In addition, Mr. Gates underlined that Germany plays a crucial role to this task. “Germany plays a decisive role in enabling us to bank on success,” Mr. Gates told the SPD paper Vorwärts(Forwards) and he continued “Development aid only counts for a fraction of public spending in most donor countries. Cuts in this area will not solve our budgetary problems.” However, the founder of Microsoft stressed the challenges which remain ahead. “We still have a long way ahead of us to ensure that every child that is born has the same chance of a healthy life regardless of whether it is born in a rich or a poor country.”
On the other hand, SPD pledged to support the efforts of Gates, who was invited at a party meeting in Potsdam, near Berlin. Party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel pledged 0.7 per cent of Germany’s gross domestic product to development programs should the SPD manage to win the upcoming elections this year. Additional funds could come from a tax on financial transactions. Moreover, Gabriel proposed to redirect some of the revenues coming from the financial transaction tax to humanitarian purposes.