Bill Gates: Charitable organisations won't be able to soften Trump aid cuts

Sally Hayden
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was set up in 2000: AFP/Getty Images

Bill Gates has warned of the devastating impact expected development aid cuts could have across the world, while warning charitable organisations like his won't be able to fill the gaps.

In an interview with the Guardian, the multi-billionaire said, “The uncertainty about what the US government will do remains very high.”

“We don’t have some special stash that we keep in case some government is less generous," he continued. "We’re spending at our maximum capacity because we know that every $1,000 we spend, we’re saving an additional life. So if net, from all governments as a whole, you get big cuts, there’s no other sector that has fair capacity to step up.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 2000. It is the world's largest private philanthropic organisation, spending more than £2.35bn each year, according to Mr Gates. However, that only amounts to around one tenth of the current US aid budget, he noted.

The US is the world's largest overseas aid donor, something Mr Trump has spoken out against. In April, when he announced his 2018 budget, it included a 31 per cent cut on international affairs spending, as well as a suggestion that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) be merged with the US State Department to "pursue greater efficiencies."

Aid workers in organisations currently receiving US funding are expressing confusion about what will happen to their work and their jobs. An employee of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said: "It's a hard time. No one knows what will happen."

The US is not the only wealthy country to consider aid budget cuts. In April, Mr Gates also issued a warning to Theresa May, saying if she reduced spending on overseas aid it would result in deaths in Africa and decrease British influence all over the world. She eventually opted to maintain the government's pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid.

Mr Gates has an estimated fortune of $86bn. This year, he was named Forbes' world's richest man for the forth time in a row.

The Microsoft founder is an active philanthropist, and uses his platform to raise awareness around dangers like malaria and other diseases. In 2010 he set up the Giving Pledge with business magnate Warren Buffett - a project which encourages billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charity.

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