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Bill Gates tells Davos ‘economic crisis is not an excuse for cutting aid’

Microsoft co-founder pledges 0m to the Global Fund to fight aids, TB and malaria and dismisses claims of fund misuse

Bills Gates has pledged 0m (£478m) to the troubled Global Fund – which fights aids, tuberculosis and malaria – through his charitable foundation and called on governments around the world not to let the economic crisis affect their commitment to the life-saving fund.

The Microsoft co-founder played down concerns surrounding the Fund, which is facing accusations of misuse of funds, and said he hoped governments would continue to support the 10-year old fund, despite the constraints of their economies and the concerns about the way money was being spent.

Michel Kazatchkine, head of the global health fund for the past five years, said this week that he would resign in March after the fund said it wanted to create the position of general manager.

Gates said: “These are tough economic times but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest. The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year”.

Brandishing a photograph of a man who owes his life to the Global Fund, Gates said the problems the Fund had faced had been blown out of proportion and dismissed concerns.

“The way people have talked about this small misuse of funds is pretty disappointing … you’re going to have a small percentage that’s misused,” he said.

He was speaking shortly after appearing on a panel on food sustainability for the world’s seven billion population. “I’m optimistic we can help the world’s one billion hungry, he said, making clear that international aid would be important.

Asked if capitalism had failed the world’s population by failing to provide food security, even though investing in agricultures provides good returns, Gates said: “no one ever said capitalism solves everything”.

Josette Sheeran, exectuive director of United Nations World Food Programme, stated that people who don’t have food have three choices – “revolt, migrate or die”. “We need a better plan,” she said. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds