Microsoft's co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates is now better known for his charity and philanthropic work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has raised countless millions of dollars for numerous worthwhile causes, and in its annual letter the foundation aims to dispel three myths about poverty, asserting that "the world is better than it has ever been".
The letter, penned largely by Bill Gates, suggests that in a little over 20 years there will be "almost no poor countries left in the world" but says that a belief that the world is not improving and countries cannot get out of the ruts of disease and poverty is actually harmful to progress.
In fact, Gates believes there are three myths that need to be wiped out. The first is the idea that poor countries are destined to stay poor forever. The blossoming of place such as Mexico City, Nairobi and Shanghai show what can be achieved in just a few decades. While Gates recognizes the advances that have been made around the world, he is still all too aware that there will always be people who need help: "Inequality will still be a problem: There will be poor people in every region."
The letter goes on to talk about the importance of foreign aid, countering the argument that it is a waste of time. But in fact it can be the push that is needed to get a country, city or community on the road to self-sufficiency.
Melinda Gates takes over the letter when talking about the third myth -- the idea that saving lives leads to over-population. In fact there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that helping to save life leads to smaller families, and smaller population make fewer demands.
The annual letter is a lengthy one, but it is well worth a read.
Below, you can check out a video of Bill Gates talking about how foreign aid helps struggling countries.