On Wednesday 24th June Bill Gates addressed MPs and Peers in the State Rooms, Speaker's House in an event hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Development APPGs and BOND. Bill Gates was introduced and the Q&A chaired by Jeremy Lefroy MP (Chair of the APPG AgDev). Prior to the event, Bill Gates had met with several MPs and stressed how important supporting smallholder farmers is to the Gates Foundation, saying 'Agriculture is really big for us.'
In his wide-ranging address to parliamentarians, Bill Gates thanked the UK government for their generosity and leadership and thanked the APPGs for their partnership and role in keeping parliamentarians engaged. During his address Bill Gates focused on health issues and achievements such as reducing the number of deaths from malaria by 50%, and talked about the importance of solving malnutrition, saying that until malnutrition is no longer an issue, Africa will not be able to become self-sufficient. Bill Gates also talked about the need to increase contraception in developing countries and the role of women's groups in achieving this, as well as highlighting how vitally important it is to create functioning tax collection systems to increase domestic resource collection and funding of public services.
In an equally wide-ranging Q&A, Bill Gates answered questions centred on the role of data collection and transparency, the need for modern health care systems, the impacts of climate change on development and corruption. Lord Cameron (Co-Chair of the APPG AgDev) asked about the importance of knowledge sharing, access to knowledge and the role of ICTs for smallholder farmers. Bill Gates' responses agreed and in addition highlighted the importance of accessing seed, credit, adequate soil quality and land rights, as well as talking about the positive role that agro-dealers can play.
The event concluded with the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP thanking Bill and Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation for their leadership and their commitment to ending poverty.