The evolution of Bill Gates has seen the Microsoft cofounder master both technology and philanthropy. Now he just may need to conquer diplomacy.
For the first time since creating the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the billionaire and his foundation co-chair wife find themselves in the role of convincing governments that funding global health initiatives is in the national interest.
In interviews with USA TODAY, both expressed deep concern over the inward-looking nature of the newly elected governments in the U.S. and Great Britain.
“If you interpret America First (the stated doctrine of President Trump) in certain ways, it would suggest not prioritizing the stability of Africa and American leadership” on African issues, Gates, 61, told USA TODAY during a visit to Silicon Valley, just weeks after arguing that very point in a private meeting with the then president-elect.
“With this new crowd, and with some of things they want to do fiscally, it just means we’re going to have to tell the story of how amazing this work is,” he said.
The Gateses worry a new nationalist view in the U.S. and its U.K. ally could jeopardize the $30 billion and $16 billion in foreign aid respectively that, when combined with the foundation’s $40 billion endowment, are critical to preventing deaths in poor countries.