Billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Bill Gates has revealed investing in health in developing nations has been his best investment ever.
Gates, who co-owns foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife Melinda has built a huge reputation of success for himself for decades. Known through his huge investment in tech, through Microsoft, his recent adventures have proven to be more humanistic and socially developmental.
He revealed he has committed $10billion to health and discovery of drugs and vaccines in the last two decades. While these have had their challenges too, he is content with the ease he’s bringing to people.
Writing on his website, Gates said;
Technology is a boom-or-bust business, but it’s mostly busts. I’ve always assumed that 10% of my technology investments will succeed—and succeed wildly. The other 90% I expect to fail.
When I made the transition from my first career at Microsoft to my second career in philanthropy, I didn’t think that my success rate would change much. I was now putting money into new ways to reduce poverty and disease. Discovering a new vaccine, I figured, would be just as hard as discovering the next tech unicorn. (Vaccines are much harder, it turns out.)
After 20 years of investing in health, though, one type of investment has surprised me—because, unlike investing in a new vaccine or technology, the success rate is very high. It’s what people in the global-health business call “financing and delivery.” Decades ago, these investments weren’t sure bets, but today, they almost always pay off in a big way.
The Microsoft CEO revealed the organisations he has worked in close connection with. While he admitted they are not well known, he said they have made great progress in the past in making health in developing nations better.
Over the past two decades, my wife Melinda and I have put a total of $10 billion into organizations that do this challenging work, including three big ones: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund; and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Each of them has been extremely successful, but most people don’t know their names or what they do.
Even fewer are watching out for them, making sure they have the money they need to do their work. Without more funding over the next 18 months, all three of these institutions will have to dramatically scale back their efforts to fight disease and keep people healthy. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen. These organizations are not trivial or expendable. In fact, they are probably the best investments our foundation has ever made.
Two decades ago, the international community began to recognize that, despite great progress in public health since World War II, people in developing countries were still dying at an alarming rate, mostly from illnesses that were easily treated with basic medicine. And so a wave of institution-building began.
He said in comparison with investing in infrastructure or energy over the past two decades, the social and economic benefits of investing in health in developing nations is worth more.
He said in 2018, Polio was drastically reduced to just 31 incidences globally; a new high point in the fight against the disease.
What if we had invested $10 billion in energy projects in the developing world? In that case, the return would have been $150 billion. What about infrastructure? $170 billion. By investing in global health institutions, however, we exceeded all of those returns: The $10 billion that we gave to help provide vaccines, drugs, bed nets and other supplies in developing countries created an estimated $200 billion in social and economic benefits.
Every three to five years, each of these three organizations needs to raise new money. Most of the time, these “replenishments,” as they’re called, are spaced out, but that isn’t the case now. By a fluke of the calendar, Gavi, the Global Fund and the GPEI will all need more money over the next 18 months. The years 2019 and 2020 are the most important in recent memory for funding the fight against disease, and the urgent question for donors is: Will you continue to invest? My answer is: Yes, absolutely.