The lives of the world's poorest people will improve more in the next 15 years "than at any time in history," Bill and Melinda Gates assert in their foundation's annual letter, the Associated Press and The Washington Post report. Issued early Thursday, the missive lays out the $42-billion philanthropy's agenda in areas like health, agriculture, and education and predicts that by 2030 polio and three other diseases will be wiped out and Africa will achieve food self-sufficiency.
The foundation also set a goal of halving mortality among children under 5 over the next decade and a half, to a death rate of one child in 40. The current rate of one child in 20 is half that of 25 years ago. In interviews prior to the letter's release, the Gateses announced a new effort called Global Citizen aimed at getting individuals involved in work to better the lives of poor people.