Bill Gates praises China for eradicating poverty, says Africa has a very long way to go

'If you’re allowed to say the truth about things in China, they’ve done a very good job,' Gates replied. 'They’re now a middle-income country, in fact, one of the wealthier middle-income countries.'

Bill Gates praises China for eradicating poverty, says Africa has a very long way to go
Kim Hong-ji/Pool Photo via AP
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Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, says that China should be given praise for doing a “very good job” with poverty. 

Speaking to New York Times Magazine columnist David Wallace-Wells, Gates and the journalist reflected on the progress the world has made in combating poverty. Wallace-Wells cited “progress in China” as a marker on how the world could address the problem and asked Gates if the trend would continue because China has “sort of finished eradicating real poverty.”  

“If you’re allowed to say the truth about things in China, they’ve done a very good job,” Gates replied. “They’re now a middle-income country, in fact, one of the wealthier middle-income countries.”

“There’s Bangladesh, India less so, Pakistan. In Indonesia there’s progress, Vietnam progress. You know, I just named all the high-population countries in Asia,” he continued. “On Asia, I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic that India, in its own sort of up and down way, will reduce poverty over time.”

“But then we’re faced with the mind-blowing challenge of Africa, where population growth is still there. Bad health is still there. And because so much of the continent is near the Equator, the climate change effects are very dramatic,” he said, pointing out throughout the rest of the interview that Africa has a lot of challenges ahead of it — especially in regards to its agriculture. 

Despite Gates’ praise for China, it’s worth noting that China defines extreme poverty as anyone who makes less than $2.30 a day. The figure stands in stark contrast to the World Bank’s suggested poverty line of less than $5.50 a day, NPR reported in 2021

“China still has around 13% of its population falling below that line, or close to 200 million people,” said the World Bank’s Martin Raiser, to which NPR reporter John Ruwitch replied, “But for Xi Jinping, proclaiming victory over extreme poverty is propaganda gold.”

Last February, President Xi announced that China had successfully eliminated extreme poverty the year before. 

“According to the current criteria, all 98.99 million poor rural population have been taken out of poverty, and 832 poverty-stricken counties as well as 128,000 villages have been removed from the poverty list,” he announced.

Critics maintain that China’s campaign to eliminate poverty largely focuses on urban residents, to the detriment of those living in rural China, the Diplomat reported

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  • By David Menzies

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