Microsoft founder and Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates addresses the G20 summit in Cannes as part of a continuing campaign to raise an extra £30bn a year to fight global poverty by levying a small tax on share and bond trading.
Despite hostility from Britain and the US, Gates adds weight to the growing campaign for a ‘Robin Hood tax’, as he tells delegates at the two-day summit that a financial transaction tax would help wealthy nations meet their aid pledges to the poor.
Gates’ report – Innovation with Impact – commissioned by Nicolas Sarkozy, concludes that aid budgets would be boosted by $9bn from the larger European economies, such as Germany and France, if they were to support the idea.
Speaking to the Guardian, Gates said: "It is very plausible that certain kinds of FTTs could work. I am lending some credibility to that. This money could be well spent and make a difference. An FTT is more possible now than it was a year ago, but it won't be at rates that magically raise gigantic sums of money."
The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has pledged support for the plan, but PM David Cameron told MPs that Britain would only back an FTT if it was introduced elsewhere in the world too.
Gates claims there have been signs of "aid fatigue" in donor countries, and he insists that the financial help provided over the past 10 years had had spectacular results. "Aid does work. Deaths go down when vaccines are properly delivered."
Gates said of his report: "I think it will help keep development on the agenda when there is a temptation to look at short-term issues. It is a valuable process and I think in my 75 minutes I can cheer them up."