Bill Gates says the best thing you can do for kids is read with them

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Gates says the best thing you can do for kids is read with them.

NEW YORK: Former CEO of Microsoft and famous philanthropist Bill Gates predicts the end of polio and three other diseases from the world in the next 15 years. “It’ll be 2018 or within one or two years of that,” Gates said in an interview on Wednesday adding that it will be a “much better eradication track record in these 15 years than in all of human history.” Africa hasn’t had a case in the past six months, with most of the cases recorded in Pakistan last year. On the occasion of Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual public letter, Quartz asked Bill Gates for advice on what parents of young children should focus on. “You can certainly control your kids’ exposure to being read to and encouraging them to read. And the breadth of vocabulary and amount of discussion—taking whatever they’re curious about and giving them time to talk to them about those things.

The Gates foundation’s seventh annual letter includes several “big bets” from the philanthropists on what they predict will be the big breakthroughs in global health, education and agriculture. There’s the genetic elements and there are the environmental elements, and those exposure times—breadth and depth—clearly have long-term impacts.” His answer is noteworthy, given the years and funding that the Gates Foundation has devoted to improving education. The letter states this year’s bets were inspired by the prediction Bill Gates and his Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, made 40 years ago, that personal computers and software would transform people’s lives. “Some people thought they were nuts. But climate change, an increasingly alarming global issue, is only briefly addressed, though the U.N. secretary-general has warned that this is the last generation that can do anything to avoid its worst effects. Their argument is predicated on advances in agriculture, health—including progress against youth mortality, polio, malaria, and HIV—and access to education, including online courses delivered to children in the developing world via cellphones.

The progress we’ve seen so far is very exciting – so exciting that we are doubling down on the bet we made 15 years ago and picking ambitious goals for what’s possible 15 years from now.” The world will have a vaccine to prevent people with malaria from spreading it to the mosquitoes that bite them, a single-dose cure that clears the parasite completely out of a person’s body, and a diagnostic test to show whether a person is infected with malaria. And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance. It was achieved between 1990 and now, and doing it again would bring the death rate to one child in 40 over the next decade and a half. “Sometimes these things don’t make the headlines, but they should,” she said. The foundation last year announced it would spend $50 million on the emergency response to Ebola in West Africa, where both WHO and Chan have been criticised for their handling of the worst outbreak of the disease in history. Having access to savings banks, loans, and cheap money transfers is important for the poor because it allows them to better weather financial shocks—brought on by poor growing seasons, for example—that make it hard to feed their families, get health care, or educate their children. “It’s the savings piece that we saw as so fundamentally key in this, that people can make these micropayments in their own accounts where they’re saving money,” said Melinda Gates. “Then when they go through these hunger seasons that happen every year in Africa, they can tide over in the hunger seasons in terms of buying food.

But they really talk about then being able to have the school fees, when it comes time in the fall to pay the school fees, they don’t have to sell a cattle or a piece of jewelry or hope that the money is still around under the mattress. It’s also more cost-effective for financial institutions, since it’s otherwise not worth the overhead expense for them to handle tiny accounts and money flows. Traditional micro-finance—which typically requires a network of staff spread out in rural areas to dispense and manage the loans—has higher transaction costs than mobile banking, and can’t scale to reach as many people.

But he’s skeptical that an explosion of consumer finance in poorer countries will give rise to serious rivals to the existing global banks, because regulations in the developed world are a big hurdle.

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