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transportation impacts poverty
Transportation impacts global poverty in ways that are both obvious and subtle. If the job market is centered in an urban area and potential workers live in a distant, rural area, their immediate survival depends on access to transportation. On a larger scale, the ability for a developing country to transcend poverty and become productive and prosperous depends a great deal on the transportation systems that are implemented with the help of foreign aid. This article analyzes five ways transportation impacts global poverty.

Five Ways Transportation Impacts Global Poverty

  1. Rural isolation arguably deserves its own list of ways transportation impacts global poverty because it has so many consequences that perpetuate continued destitution. For example, farmers in isolated rural environments often fail to reach their economic potential because they cannot easily access marketplaces that offer seeds, fertilizers and other tools for agricultural success.
  2. Other casualties of rural isolation are the elderly or otherwise infirm. Healthcare services are usually in centralized urban locations. Even if the poor and sick or even the old, pregnant or injured can afford the costs associated with health services, they are often unable to get to where the providers are if they live in rural communities. World Bank has helped to address this in developing regions of India, Georgia and Vietnam by subsidizing travel costs and making health professionals available in more remote areas.
  3. Investing in basic infrastructure is often one of the most significant ways in which transportation impacts global poverty. The building of roads, trails and bridges creates greater accessibility even for those who can only travel on foot. Jobs are created to facilitate these developments, and there are often new modes of public transportation implemented to make use of newly created roads or railroad tracks. This helps to minimize the travel time between rural and urban regions. Bill Gates asserts that while domestic resources can and should be utilized for infrastructure investment, global aid is a critical component as well. An investment in a developing country ultimately benefits the entire world, including the wealthiest nations.
  4. It stands to reason that the more easily a population can access educational facilities, the more educated that population is likely to be. People living more than an hour’s walk from the main road in Papua New Guinea were shown to be experiencing twice as much poverty as those living closer to the road. Building new roads and providing greater access to transportation resulted in an increase in education enrollment and literacy as well as an overall decrease in poverty.
  5. A theory known as “spatial mismatch” describes a phenomenon in which those who can easily pay for transportation, whether by automobile or public means, move away from congested urban regions. This creates a problem for the poor because the market often follows the wealthy as do the jobs. In developing countries, this is especially problematic since it feeds a cycle of poverty in which cheap housing options are only available in areas where there are few amenities, poor transportation options and limited jobs.

Writer Wilfred Owen asserts, “Continuing global prosperity is contingent on the very large volume of trade with developing countries and on the foreign investment opportunities they provide.” This will not be feasible without a short-term investment in the infrastructure and transportation systems of those developing countries. While the governments of the developing nations play a vital role in upgrading transportation options in their countries, foreign aid must also play a part. As this article shows, transportation impacts global poverty; therefore, it is not a simple matter of charity but rather a wise investment in our global future.

Raquel Ramos
Photo: Flickr

Gates Plans to Eradicate Malaria

Bill Gates is currently the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $95 billion. But he also has a reputation for humanitarianism. As one of the world’s leading philanthropists, Gates is widely considered to be the most prominent humanitarian public figure. Together, he and his wife established The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a private, charitable foundation that globally combats poverty and enhances healthcare. Now, Gates plans to eradicate malaria by 2040.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite, commonly transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. While malaria occurs in roughly 100 countries, it is most common in tropical and subtropical regions. To this end, the disease is common in regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Upon contracting malaria, a person will exhibit symptoms resembling the flu. And if left untreated, malaria can be fatal. However, this is largely preventable.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 207 million cases of malaria reported in 2012. Approximately 627,000 of these cases resulted in death. Significantly, roughly 90 percent of these estimated deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and 77 percent in children under 5 years of age. Given these statistics, the mortality rate of malaria is incredibly slight, at around 0.003 percent. Therefore, malaria does not have to result in death and, moreover, may be prevented entirely. And as Gates plans to eradicate malaria, this possibility may soon become reality.

What’s the Plan?

At the Malaria Summit London 2018, the Gates Foundation pledged to invest $1 billion through 2023 to end malaria. To date, the Gates Foundation has committed $1.6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Additionally, it has committed almost $2 billion in grants to eradicate the disease. At the summit, Gates states, “It’s a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable. We hope today marks a turning point against the disease.”

Malaria is not a mystery anymore. Cures and vaccinations already exist to combat the disease. There is a solution, it simply needs funding. Between 2000 and 2012, malaria incidence rates declined 25 percent globally. By establishing protocol, proper resources can render malaria a manageable issue. While this is no small order, Gates plans to eradicate malaria and has the capability to fund it. Undoubtedly, this will leave an indelible, positive mark on the fight for better healthcare and war against global poverty.

Lacy Rab
Photo: Flickr

Notable Humanitarians
Improving the world is no small task. It can take great amounts of resources and effort to drive global change. And even with the proper tools, global change can still seem like a distant vision rather than a reality. Usually, this is where the thought process ends. Inspiring change is too daunting a task for most people. But not for everyone.

Notable humanitarians show the world a different way of thinking. They see the complex problems of the world and begin to push towards a solution. In doing so, they set an example for everybody else. So who are these notable humanitarians?

Three Notable Humanitarians

  1. Bill GatesThe Microsoft co-founder knows about humanitarianism. In 1994, Gates and his wife Melinda began a decades-long mission to improve the world, founding what would become the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization is a strong force for global health, development and policy advocacy. Since its founding, the organization has contributed billions of dollars towards global issues. This money has funded many global initiatives, especially relating to health and education. The foundation cites continuous collaboration with partners as a key to being effective.Gates has made humanitarianism his sole focus. In 2014, he stepped down from his chairman position at Microsoft to concentrate on the foundation.The Lesson: Improving the world requires everybody working together.
  2. Kristine PearsonAfter doing research in parts of rural Africa, Kristine Pearson noticed a problem. Despite the spread of community radio stations, many people still did not have radio access.  Much of this was because of issues with electricity coverage. Armed with this knowledge, Pearson set out to make a change. That change came in the form of wind-up and solar-powered radios. Given the energy poverty suffered by many in rural Africa, this was a perfect fit. Using this technology, Pearson has been able to spread radio access to more than half a million people. For those that otherwise would be unable to afford this access, Pearson is a hero.When she founded her charity, Lifeline Energy, in 1999, Pearson became a catalyst for change. She was able to help combat poverty through radio. With access to radio broadcasts, rural Africans are better equipped to deal with emergencies, and their day-to-day lives benefit as well. Educational content, news and weather broadcasts are all useful for rural citizens. Pearson made these benefits attainable for many through her notable humanitarian work.The Lesson: Social entrepreneurship can improve quality of life in developing countries.
  3. Norman BorlaugNobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug is the definition of a notable humanitarian. Borlaug developed a wheat cultivation method that increased crop yields in Mexico. His background in agronomy allowed him to create innovative ideas for the country. Mexico faced complex agriculture problems, and Borlaug’s work was a breath of fresh air.After his original work in Mexico, Borlaug took his methods across the world. His work throughout the 1940s and 1950s created what was later called the “green revolution”. Because of his methods, several countries were able to rise out of famine. In fact, by the end of his career, Dr. Borlaug had saved more than a billion people from starvation.The Lesson: Reducing global poverty requires innovative thinking.

Being a humanitarian can take many forms. Creating a charity, spreading radio access and increasing crop yields are just a few of the numerous ways to help others. As seen from the stories of these three notable humanitarians, they can be very effective. Whatever the method, the end goal is the same: to make the world better.

– Robert Stephen

Photo: Flickr

global healthSince 1983, J.P. Morgan has hosted an annual healthcare conference to unite industry leaders, fast-companies, innovative technology creators and people willing to invest in these technologies. Though the company is known for being a global leader in financial services, J.P. Morgan has made global health a priority by donating nearly $200 million a year to nonprofits globally, leading volunteer services and using its access to capital to help local communities suffering from poverty.

J.P. Morgan has made the following its core values:

  1. Corporate responsibility
  2. Health initiatives
  3. Strengthening communities
  4. Environmental sustainability

In January 2018, Bill Gates made an appearance at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to discuss his thoughts. At the conference, Gates’ speech discussed recent progress in global health and what else still needs to be done. Initially, he pointed out how global health has been the focus of his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for the last eight years. He explained how child mortality has decreased by 50 percent and credited new vaccines to reducing deaths due to rotavirus, pneumonia and malaria.

Afterwards, he expressed the need for more innovation, explaining how funding research is the most elementary step in improving global health. He mentioned the current gap between the tools that are currently available to eliminate stubborn diseases and poverty and the tools that are needed, explaining that the only solution is innovation. He emphasized how “the tools and discoveries companies are working on can also lead to breakthrough solutions that save millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries.”

He concluded his speech by emphasizing the need for more research into preterm births, as they account for half of newborn deaths. It has also become clear that a child’s nutrition and the microbiome in their stomach, or rather the interactions between the two, are the largest factor in determining the child’s survival rate. The best solution to this is ensuring that children have the proper ratio of microbes in their stomach, a problem Gates and his partners have started to tackle.

Gates and his foundation have always made global health a priority. They work with partners globally to improve the following five program areas:

  1. Global health, which focuses on developing new tools to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and HIV.
  2. Global development, which aims to finance the delivery of high-impact solutions, providing people with healthy, productive lives.
  3. Global policy and advocacy, which promotes public policies and builds alliances with the government, the public and the private sectors.
  4. Global growth and opportunity, which works to break down economic barriers in an effort to lift people out of poverty.
  5. U.S. programs, which focuses on ensuring all students graduate from high school and have the opportunity to go to college.

Thanks to Bill Gates, his foundation and the J.P. Morgan healthcare conference, investors and advancements will continue to increase, alleviating the burden of global poverty and improving global health.

– Chylene Babb

Photo: Flickr

Why USAID Is Important and EssentialWhen the topic of foreign aid comes up it is common to see headlines such as “USAID brings relief to Haitians after the occurrence of Hurricane Matthew,” but what exactly is this acronym? USAID is a government-funded agency that works to make the lives of millions of people easier.

There are many reasons as to why USAID is important and essential. USAID stands for the United States Agency for International Development. Working side by side with the military, USAID uses its resources to encourage countries to resolve conflict and end violence, working to lessen the need to send soldiers to dangerous areas.

Not only does it help end conflict, but USAID also helps elevate the roles of women and girls, provides assistance in the event of a disaster, invests in agricultural productivity to help food production in other countries, promotes human rights, combats diseases and more.

One of the greatest things that USAID’s work contributes to is the ending of extreme poverty. USAID has come up with a plan entitled “Vision for Ending Global Poverty,” which recognizes what needs to be done in order to fix the commonalities that each country has that causes them to struggle with poverty.

Despite common misconceptions, USAID does more than contribute to countries outside the U.S. Not only is USAID beneficial to those struggling in other countries, but it is also a benefit to the U.S. as well.

In a recent interview, Bill Gates explains the dangers of cutting USAID by explaining that foreign aid projects keep the U.S. safe. “By promoting health, security and economic opportunity, they stabilize vulnerable parts of the world,” says Gates, promoting the truth that helping others is of benefit not only to them but to America as well.

He continues explaining that USAID helps to stop major diseases such as HIV and AIDS, create more U.S. jobs and protects military members. The money goes to contractors, companies and volunteer organizations, all going towards promoting each country’s own financial well-being. Out of USAID’s top recipients in 2011, Pakistan received $343,698,200, Haiti $133,601,639, and Indonesia $17,848,628.

Keeping in mind that USAID’s proposed budget for 2018 is $15.4 billion, the United States Agency for International Development is distributing its funds in ways that help those who need it the most.

This is what USAID is and why USAID is important and essential to the alleviation of global poverty. U.S. involvement in foreign aid is not only saving the lives of those who live in developing and impoverished countries, but it is also saving and bettering the lives of Americans and American soldiers.

Noel McDavid
Photo: Flickr

Gates Foundation
This year, as part of his annual pledge to eventually contribute 500 million shares of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett recently donated nearly $2.2 billion worth of class B stocks in support of improving global health and embarking on a new challenge to assist U.S. education.

In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge, which rallied the world’s billionaires to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity. Since the pledge has been put into place, 154 affluent individuals have made the oath.

Gates acknowledges the possibility of failure in some projects, but remains optimistic, stating “we not only accept that [projects will fail] we expect it—because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can’t afford to make.”

Bill and Melinda Gates are both optimistic about the future of the Foundation, which is aimed at alleviating extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries in addition to improving the failure of America’s education system.

According to a SEC document filed on Thursday, July 13, 2015, Buffett donated 14,968,423 shares of Class B Common Stock valued at $145.93 per share to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett also donated 1,047,785 shares of Class B Common Stock to foundations owned by his three children: the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Warren Buffett believes philanthropy is associated with taking risks and remains steadfast and patient whenever Berkshire investments bear no fruit. “If you succeed in everything you’re doing in charity, you’re attempting things that are too easy,” Warren Buffett declared in 2011.

The philanthropist also donated $215 million worth of stocks to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which is named after his late wife. The main objective of the Susan Thompson Buffett foundation is to provide scholarships for eligible recipients within the Nebraska region on a competitive basis.

Buffett has vowed to give away 99 percent of his wealth in support of charitable causes and innovative solutions to end global poverty. After over 10 years of donating to the Gates foundation as well as other nonprofit organizations, Buffett’s fortune is now estimated at approximately $65.6 billion.

Buffett’s recent donation to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, when added to the other donations made over his lifetime, brings his total donations to more than $28.5 billion.

Shanique Wright

Photo: Finance Buzz

Donations from billionaires
According to the Brookings Institute, in some developing nations the help of the richest billionaire in the country would be enough to drastically reduce poverty. This model is based on the respective billionaire donating at least half of their fortune.

For example, the generosity of just one billionaire would probably be enough to boost the economy of the tiny African country of Swaziland. If this model were applied in Swaziland, Colombia and Georgia, poverty within these struggling countries would be nearly eradicated.

It is worth noting that this ideology would not work in the same way in every country. While the poverty rate will always fall with donations from billionaires, the amount would vary. Some countries in Africa may be harder to impact significantly due to “the depth of poverty” and high prices on the continent.

The Brookings Institute model not only looks at potential donations from the richest billionaire in a country, but in places with multiple billionaires they could collaborate and work together to reduce poverty. The more donations from billionaires that are received, the more people who will rise above the global poverty line.

Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, which encourages billionaires to give away much of their earnings to charity, follows a similar model. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg also pledged to donate 99 percent of his income to poverty reducing efforts and other charitable campaigns.

In addition to donating, billionaires may also be wise to invest in poor nations, as a boost in the economy of the country would likely cause a major increase in the number of consumers of foreign goods and services. Stronger economies result in an increased number of markets.

If billionaires around the world chip in to boost their local economies, the global wealth gap will decrease as the amount of consumption.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr

Breakthrough Energy CoalitionParis hosted the global climate conference with heads of government and businesses in attendance. This was the 21st conference of this kind, and many maintain that it was the most productive thanks to Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

At the climate event, known as COP-21, Gates announced his plan to help address climate change. It is a collection of some of the most influential entrepreneurs, and it is known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

The group includes well-known business leaders such as Richard Branson, Jack Ma and Jeff Bezos.

The coalition, led by Gates, pledges to work in tandem with national governments to increase funding for clean energy research. They will also invest in risky clean energy projects that have a long return on investment but a high potential for success.

Many of the ideas coming from existing clean energy research and development are too insecure for traditional investors. They do not want to put money into an idea that might never make it to the market. This difficult journey from innovative idea to commercial product is known as the “valley of death,” and Gates’s coalition plans to bridge it.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will invest in those risky ideas and be patient with the returns. Gates cites flow batteries and solar paint as two such existing products that need private sector investment. If successful, solar paint could transform any surface into a solar panel.

A crucial component of this plan is national governments. The research and development for clean energy technology must start with the government because only they have the mandate and resources to do so. Business alone cannot lead the charge.

Furthermore, government-funded programs have successfully created whole new industries that from space, defense and medical research. Gates’s coalition believes governments are key to creating the clean energy industries of the future.

In association with Gates’ announcement, President Obama and leaders around the world pledged to increase public-sector spending for research and development in clean energy. This pledge, in combination with Gates’, will constitute the biggest investment in clean energy in history.

The public sector initiative is known as Mission Innovation, including 20 nations. Each participating country agrees to double its existing funding for clean energy technology within the next five years.

This pledge will increase the budget of the 20 nations to $20 billion for clean energy. These new funds will go to research and development, and the creation of new ideas and technologies.

Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition will then use their business acumen to wisely invest in technology that has the greatest potential. With patient and consistent investment, the products will bypass the “valley of death.”

These historic investments from government and businesses reflect the urgency for action. Both realize the impact climate change can have on their respect areas. It can cause unrest and war for governments, and a loss of profits for businesses.

The developing world, though, has the most to lose. Man-made climate change is primarily caused by industrialization from the developed world, but affects the developed world in a greater magnitude. This harsh irony will be reduced with the teaming up of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and Mission Innovations.

Clean energy will allow the developing world to grow and avoid the ravages of climate change. Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition will not only address climate change, but also fight poverty.

Andrew Wildes

Sources: Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Mashable, The Guardian
Photo: Here & Now

clean_energy
Bill Gates hasn’t spoken much about the global crisis with clean energy that could make poverty and disease even worse than it is today. Until now, that is.

In his most recent post on Gates Notes, his personal blog, Gates wrote about how, as he puts it, the world can “avoid the worst climate change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently and saving lives by reducing pollution.”

First, Gates suggests creating incentives to innovate. He discusses how, globally, billions of dollars are spent every year on research having to do with clean energy yet the total amount of money is not even close to the amount needed to get the world out of its current mess.

Specifically, he endorses the idea that governments should take the initiative and offer large sums of funding for basic research on clean energy.

His next point has to do with developing a clean energy market that mirrors reality. Current energy markets don’t take into account things like health costs and environmental damage when it comes to reflecting the full impact of carbon emissions.

According to Gates, if markets were to reflect such factors, the competitiveness of renewable energy would surge, leading to more innovators taking notice in the field.

Gates’ final proposal is for the world to treat poor countries fairly, as climate change will hit them the worst. He calls on countries that created the problem to take responsibility when it comes to helping poor countries adjust to a climate that is always changing.

As for the Gates Foundation, the billionaire said it would focus on small farmers, a group that makes up the majority of the poor in the world. Gates said the organization would help them adjust to more unpredictable weather by increasing agricultural productivity.

Matt Wotus

Sources: Business Insider, The Gates Notes
Photo: IB Times

#MakeTechHuman
Technology has the power to save millions, yet it also poses serious risks. In order to discuss and mitigate that risk, mobile tech giant Nokia and technology magazine WIRED have teamed up to launch the #MakeTechHuman campaign: a proposed debate on the future of technology and its potential for aiding the human race. “The #MakeTechHuman debate that Nokia has enabled is all about ensuring that technology serves humanity, in the right way,” says Nokia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Barry French. At the core of the debate is the issue of artificial intelligence (AI).

An open letter signed by innovators such as Bill Gates, Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking is part of the joint endeavor, and it lays out specific ways in which AI can be used in the fight against disease and global poverty. The letter states that AI “has the potential to bring unprecedented benefits to humanity.” Experts agree that AI can, quite possibly in the near future, do great things for society. One example that the letter cites is eradication of global hunger through optimized farming practices. AI also has the potential to revolutionize the medical field by providing diagnoses and treatment far quicker than a human can.

It is ideal for technology to serve all, however technology comes at a price. The purpose of #makeithuman is to ensure that the technology designed to save the suffering does not turn on them. To encourage a discussion on possible solutions and ways to mitigate risk, Stephen Hawking has joined #makeithuman with his first Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session. The renowned physicist is encouraging all to join the conversation about AI and the countless and revolutionary methods of aid it can provide.

Joe Kitaj

Sources: Nokia, Wired, Reddit, Future of Life, PR Newswire
Photo: Flickr