Our Five Favorite Quotes from Bill and Melinda Gates’ Annual Letter


January 22, 2014

1. On people who ‘write off’ Africa as an unsolvable problem:

“You should look skeptically at anyone who treats an entire continent as an undifferentiated mass of poverty and disease.”

2. On corruption in the administration and distribution of foreign aid:

“There is a double standard at work here. I’ve heard people calling on the government to shut down some aid programs if one dollar of corruption is found. On the other hand, four of the past seven governors of Illinois have gone to prison for corruption, and to my knowledge no one has demanded that Illinois schools be shut down or its

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highways closed.”

3. On what the American government really spends on foreign aid and what it can do:

“I don’t want to imply that $11 billion a year isn’t a lot of money. But to put it in perspective, it’s about $30 for every American. Imagine that the income tax form asked, “Can we use $30 of the taxes you’re already paying to protect 120 children from measles?” Would you check yes or no?” Many of us may be eligible for one or more tax credits

4. On whether saving lives leads to overpopulation:

“The planet does not thrive when the sickest are allowed to die off, but rather when they are able to improve their lives.”


With access to a range of contraceptives and information about birth spacing, women like Sharmila Devi are able to raise healthier families (Dedaur village, India, 2013).

5. On what this all means:“We all have the chance to create a world where extreme poverty is the exception rather than the rule, and where all children have the same chance to thrive, no matter where they’re born.”

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Read Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letter here and check out this brilliant BuzzFeed 9 Reasons The World Is Better Than Ever, According To Bill And Melinda Gates.

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