Bill Gates visits Expo 2020 Dubai, views key projects of Expo Live innovation and partnership programme
DUBAI, 8 December 2021 — Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist, and the world’s fourth-richest man, today visited Expo 2020 Dubai and toured the key projects of Expo Live, the global innovation and partnership programme that supports innovators who develop extraordinary low-cost solutions.
Accompanied by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, Bill Gates spent nearly 20 minutes looking at the projects at the Expo Live Pavilion, and stopped to ask questions.
Bill Gates was very interested in Ideabatic’s SMILE cooling system, a fail-safe innovation developed by cold system expert Kitty Liao of the UK, keeping vaccines fresh during last-mile journeys to remote areas. The smart cooling system has an air-locking carousel and a self-closing door that minimizes human error and vaccine wastage during vaccination and transportation. It is portable and requires no external power. It can be carried by health workers on their back, on drones and other delivery methods. Its simple design requires almost no training to operate, saving money in field deployment.
The former Microsoft chairman was also impressed by ‘Desert Control’, a new technology developed by Atle Idland of Norway, to help create an agricultural revolution for arid regions. The invention uses Liquid NonoClay (LNC), a technology that converts poor soil into fertile land. It works more quickly and uses less water than conventional agricultural methods.
Bill Gates’ visit is significant, as Expo 2020 Dubai and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined hands to support grassroots innovators with the ambition and potential to improve the lives of people across a variety of complex, fragile or marginalised humanitarian settings. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has become one of the world’s most influential non-profit organisations that spends USD 5 billion annually on fighting poverty, disease and inequality around the world.
Learnings from the Expo Live Global Innovators will help the Gates Foundation’s Emergency Response Programme assess how grassroots solutions can be applied elsewhere in the world, spreading optimism for the future and inspiring further action towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Expo Live hosts innovations and ideas from every corner of the globe, and not just from traditional places of innovation. The programme received more than 11,000 applications from 184 countries, and is currently supporting 140 grantees from 76 countries — truly showing that innovation can come from anywhere, to everyone.
Gates also toured the Sustainability Pavilion, which highlights technologies that consume zero energy. Speaking to Expo TV, Gates urged the world to speed up the implementation of its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with the deadline just eight years away.
He also said that the world was going through a difficult stage in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the success achieved, and called for more efforts for a fair distribution of vaccines.