Bill & Melinda Gates: Our bet for 2030

Today, the continent has to rely on imports and food aid to feed its people, even though seven out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa are farmers. With better fertilizer and hardier crops, African farmers will be able to grow a greater variety of food and sell their surpluses to supplement their family’s diet with vegetables, eggs, milk, and meat.

Third, mobile banking will help the poor radically transform their lives. The progress we’ve seen so far is so exciting that we are doubling down on the bet we made 15 years ago.

What will it take to make sure life really does improve faster for the poor? We need advances in technology and we need to deliver them to the people who need them most. Here’s our bet: The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. In 1990, one in 10 children in the world died before age 5. But by allowing teachers to do things like upload videos of themselves and get feedback from their peers, it can connect them in new ways.

Beyond 2015, we hope these global citizens will hold governments and other decision-makers accountable for meeting those goals. Almost all countries will include vaccines for diarrhea and pneumonia, two of the biggest killers of children, in their immunization programs. Part of the problem is that African farmers get just a fraction of the yields that American farmers get. We’re putting our credibility, time and money behind this bet because we think there has never been a better time to accelerate progress and have a big impact around the world. Today, some 2.5 billion people don’t have access to cheap and easy financial services — a problem that makes it much more difficult to be poor. And we’re learning how to help more mothers adopt practices such as proper breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with their babies that prevent newborns from dying in the first month after they’re born.Second, Africa will be able to feed itself. If your savings is in the form of jewelry or livestock, for example, you can’t very well chip off tiny pieces to cover routine daily expenses. We also need to close the gender gap. Already, in developing countries with the right regulatory framework — such as Bangladesh — people are using their phones to store money digitally and make purchases. In fact, we’re betting on it.

We started our foundation in 2000 with the idea that by backing innovative work in health and education, we could help billions of people improve their lives. Of course, software will never replace teachers. Today, it’s one in 20. We’re aiming to recruit millions of new advocates — we’re calling them global citizens — to urge world leaders to be ambitious when they meet in September to adopt a new set of goals that will guide the world’s efforts to tackle disease, poverty, and climate change for the next 15 years.

Fourth, as high-speed cell networks grow and smartphones become as cheap as today’s voice-only phones, online education will flourish. By 2030, 8% of the adults without bank accounts today will be doing the same.. Before a child even starts primary school, she will be able to use her mom’s smartphone to learn her numbers and letters. Better sanitation will cut the spread of disease dramatically. Countries like Ghana are also building better roads and adopting policies that make it easier to move food to the places where it’s most needed.

You can show your support by signing up at www.globalcitizen.org, where you can learn how to get engaged and connect with other organizations working to make 2015 a historic year. By 2030, it will be one in 40. We believe that informed, passionate people can work together to make the world a more equitable place. Countries where girls don’t go to school or women can’t open a business will be left behind.

First, child deaths will go down by half.

In the next 15 years, however, innovations in farming will erase these brutal ironies. The key will be mobile phones.

And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.

Another crucial factor will be people who care about helping those in the world’s poorest places improve their lives. In 15 years, Africa will still import food when it makes sense to do so, but it will also export much more, eventually achieving a net positive trade balance.

But in the next 15 years, digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets. Software will be able to see when she’s having trouble with the material and adjust for her pace.

Even as climate change makes farmers’ job more difficult, we can get them enough innovation and information to increase productivity by 50% for the continent overall

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