Charity, not presidency: Bill Gates
By Lynne Nahhas AFP
October 11, 2012, 12:11 am TWN
ABU DHABI--Microsoft co-founder turned global philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday that he will focus on charity rather than running for U.S. presidency.
"I wouldn't ever choose to run for political office," said Gates at the annual Abu Dhabi Media Summit held in the Emirati capital.
By running the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "I don't have to raise political campaigns, I don't have to get elected ... I'm not term limited to eight years," said the U.S. billionaire, but added that he would give "advice" to the president just as he gave to Microsoft.
"Right now, I am spending more of my time and effort to end polio than any other cause. It's the top priority of our foundation," he said in his opening speech at the media gathering.
"We can end polio. And when we do, it will rejuvenate the whole field of global health," he said, adding that the dreaded disease has "dropped more than 99 percent over the last 20 years."
Gates said the foundation he co-chairs has pledged to spend US$10 billion in this decade to pay for research and development and delivery of vaccines to the poorest children in the world.
He said the Gulf region could play a key role in fighting poverty and diseases.
"One of the things that makes this region so special is the way tradition and change exist side by side," said Gates.
"You combine rising prosperity and a commitment to education with a deep custom of charity, in keeping with the teachings of Islam."
On Monday, his foundation announced a new partnership with the Islamic Development Bank to provide financing for agriculture and malaria, and to work together to fight polio.
"Many imams are strong advocates for vaccination. After all, people making hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage) must be vaccinated against multiple diseases, including polio," Gates said.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds health and anti-poverty projects in developing countries, including malaria research and vaccination programs, and works with the poor in the United States.
Through the foundation, built on his software fortune, Gates has committed more than US$2.5 billion in HIV grants to organizations around the world.
It has also committed more than US$1.4 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the foundation said in a report in July.
The three-day 2012 Abu Dhabi Media Summit brings together over 400 leaders from across the global media industry.