Gates: US ‘should take more’ refugees

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Microsoft,Image copyright

The billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has told the BBC that the United States “should set a better example” by taking in more refugees.

Speaking to the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Gates said his home country “had the capacity” to follow the examples of Germany and Sweden, who were “to be congratulated”.

But he acknowledged that relaxing immigration laws “was not easy”.

He added that governments were dealing with “tight budgets”.

However, he emphasised that the issue was largely a political one, and that “the total number of refugees is not a world record”.

Media captionGates: US ‘should take more’ refugees

Ethiopian example

Mr Gates, who runs the largest charitable foundation in the world, said that economic development would stem the tide of migration from some countries.

He cited Ethiopia, which used to be a source of refugees, but has now taken in “more than any other African country”.

This reversal, Mr Gates added, was “partly because we’ve invested in agriculture, governments had good policies, so food productivity is up very dramatically – over 50% in the last five years”.

As for those fleeing conflict zones, Mr Gates said the priority should be to get medicines such as cholera vaccines into refugee camps, and to help children living in them continue their education.

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