Bill Gates vows to drop off world’s rich list

Billionaire Bill Gates has pledged again to give his wealth away, adding that he will eventually “drop off” the world’s rich list.

It came as the Microsoft co-founder announced he would make a $20bn (£17bn) donation to the charitable foundation run by him and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates to boost its annual distributions.

In a Twitter thread, Bill Gates said the foundation would boost its spending from $6bn a year to $9bn by 2026 due to recent “global setbacks” including the pandemic, Ukraine and the climate crisis.

“As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation,” he said. “I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people.

“I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives. And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too.”

The foundation’s new goal of distributing $9 billion annually, which it aims to accomplish by 2026, is a 50% increase from its current rate. Gates’s latest infusion of cash brings the foundation’s total endowment to about $70 billion.

“The great crises of our time require all of us to do more,” Gates said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change, among others,” he said in a statement.

He added that the compounding effects of crises, which include surging inflation, had increased the need to invest more in the foundation’s core focus areas of health, education, gender equality and poverty alleviation.

The donation brings the 22-year-old organization’s endowment to about $70 billion, which includes a grant of $3.1 billion from Warren Buffett last month.

Following their tumultuous divorce last year, the foundation’s namesake billionaires jointly committed $15 billion to the Seattle-based organization, which Gates’s most recent contribution would fully cover.

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