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Highlights from Bill Gates' Q&A with Global Citizen

I've spent the last week getting all excited about hearing Bill Gates speak with global citizens in London, and today was the big day. It happened! And it was good.

Bill and BBC Radio 1 host Greg James spent around 45 minutes chatting at Facebook's London office, with Bill answering questions from the audience, video questions from around the world, questions submitted via facebook, and questions from famous faces such as Facebook Chief Operations Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. Questions galore!

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Here are some of the highlights from Bill Gates' responses. And further down on this page, there's a link that'll enable you to watch the whole thing.


On what's possible in poverty eradication between now and 2030:

"I'm very optimistic that we'll make more progress in the next 15 years than we ever have in history, because of the resources and the technology and the movement of Global Citizen pushing it forward."

On being ambitious and daring when it comes to wiping out malaria, which is currently killing hundreds of thousands of people every year:

"Malaria is an unbelievable problem... The end date will be somewhere between 2030 and 2040. The conservative experts say 'no don't commit to anything earlier than 2040', but in fact if we get the breakthrough medicines out there, if we intensify these campaigns, my personal hope is that we can get it done more like 2030."

On women and girls, and their importance in the fight to end extreme poverty:

"We're still not getting women's talents to be used as they should. It gets more extreme as you get into poor countries. It is the most important thing to raise up to get rid of poverty."

What young people can do to be part of the global citizen movement, something that's more important than money:

"What we want as much as anything is their voice. Really the voice is the most important thing.

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About how the UK Government's aid budget, now at 0.7% of the UK's gross national income, influences the rest of the world:

"The UK, by being at the 0.7%, has been an incredible leader and a lot of others have not gotten up to that level yet. But because the UK moved there, I'm quite confident that we'll get those contributions to increase."

On what it'll take to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change and making impoverished communities very vulnerable:

"We have to stop putting greenhouse gases in the air, which means that we have to change our energy and transport systems. More research and more innovation will be very important."

On progress in Africa:

"There's a level of optimism and excitement (in Africa) that the health problems have improved so much, that the agriculture investments are finally being made there. The majority of the top ten fast-growing economies in the world are in Africa, and it's not just the mineral wealth now, it's broader-based than that."

About the effort to wipe polio out, and how soon we can potentially win:

"There are very intense efforts taking place there now that make us hope that the last case (of Polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan) will be sometime in 2016. So then you wait three years after your last case just to make sure, and that would mean that this would be certified that this would be the second disease ever to be eradicated in 2019."

So many ideas were flying around the room today, and these were just some of them. The whole Q&A was streamed live through the Global Citizen Facebook page, and here's the full video below. Enjoy!

We’re here at Facebook London, ready to #AskBill how we can tackle some of the the world’s biggest challenges together. Watch now to see Bill Gates answer YOUR questions live!

Posted by Global Citizen on Tuesday, 23 June 2015