Addis Ababa – Visiting founder of global software giant Microsoft Bill Gates has on Thursday hailed African countries for making progress in agriculture and health, but said African governments must do more.
Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, acknowledged the development gains made through assistance from foreign governments and non-profit organisations such as his foundation.
“The real fuel for development will be the resources of African nations themselves whether that is in the form of government funding, private-sector investment or just plain human creativity at all levels of society.”
Addressing students at Addis Ababa University, where he was presented with an honorary degree on Thursday, Gates said: “Africa is now in an incredible position to shape its own destiny for the better for one very simple and powerful reason.
“The countries of Africa are learning from each other.”
During his visit to Ethiopia, Gates emphasised the importance of health and agriculture, commending the government of Ethiopia for its Health Extension Programme and the establishment of its Agricultural Transformation Agency.
“If you get health and agricultural development right, the gains are exceptional, and they reverberate through the rest of your economy for decades to come,” he said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works with partners in Africa to make smart investments so that together they can make real and lasting impact for those with the greatest challenges.
Gates praised Liberia, Malawi and Tanzania for the great progress made in cutting child mortality rates, saying those countries still had a long way to go before Africa reaches its full potential.
“There is no path to lasting growth within Africa that is not widespread growth.
“It is not possible. If Africa seeks prosperity, it must provide for the health and nutrition of all including the poorest.”
The Foundation has investments in health research and agriculture in the world’s most high-tech labouratories to innovative approaches to delivering basic public goods and services to families and communities.