Bill Gates and the Chinese Government Want to Take On World Hunger

Monday, October 31, 2011

The world’s largest charitable foundation and one of the world’s more totalitarian governments might seem like odd bedfellows, but both, it turns out, have similar goals. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that they are launching a far-reaching partnership with the Chinese government for international aid work on Wednesday. Over the coming months and years, the Gates Foundation and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology will jointly fund a number of global health and agricultural innovations. The decision to fund good works by the Gates Foundation isn’t simply a Chinese philanthropic move–it also has everything to do with rising Chinese food demands and economic imperialism. But, here’s the rub… that’s not such a bad thing.

Details of the China-Gates Foundation partnership will be released this week at the G20 conference in Switzerland, but the outline is clear: The two will be co-funding a series of new global health products, conducting R&D work into increasingly agricultural yields, and working on IT tech for rural areas worldwide. According to a public statement by Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology Zhang Laiwu, “Innovation to advance human welfare is a goal that China shares with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation […] Together we can do more to improve agriculture and health in some of the poorest nations.”

According to the Gates Foundation, the most likely initial candidates for project funding will be disease vaccines, new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis and other diseases, and development of new varieties of crops and livestock. The Chinese government and the Gates Foundation are in the process of setting up a joint committee which will handle approval and disbursement of the funds. Exact funding amounts were not available as of press time, but the Gates Foundation stated that they will actively seek “additional investment from the public and private sectors” in addition to their own contributions for the project.

Source: Fast Company (link opens in a new window)