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Why is the billionaire sharing chickens to Africans?

The world’s richest man believes that rearing fowls is an effective way to lift many of the continent’s poor out of endemic poverty.

The world’s richest man believes that rearing fowls is an effective way to lift many of the continent’s poor out of endemic poverty.

According to the World Bank, 42.7 percent of people live on under two dollars (about eight cedis) a day in sub-Saharan Africa and the goal of the Coop Dreams project is to “eventually help 30 percent of the rural families in sub-Saharan Africa raise improved breeds of vaccinated chickens, up from just 5 percent now.”

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In a blog post titled; “Why I would raise chickens” the billionaire shared his experience interacting with Africans whose lives have changed because of the domestic bird and said “it is pretty clear to me that just about anyone who is living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens. In fact, if I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do—I would raise chickens.”

Some of the reasons why Gates cited for the project was because; chickens are easy and cheaper to care for, they do good on the market, the eggs are nutritious for children and are a source of empowerment for many rural women. According to Gates, a farmer who starts with five hens could “earn more than 1,000 dollars a year (about 4,000 cedis), versus the extreme-poverty line of about 700 dollars a year (about 2,800 cedis).”

The campaign has been met with many negative response from animal rights activists and some Africans. The former believe it is cruel to rear the birds; which will later be slaughtered for their meat. Some Africans also say the real problem is cheap foreign exports of frozen chicken that have flooded African markets which are making it difficult for local farmers to a earn decent living.

In 2000, the founder of Microsoft, together with his wife Melinda, started a foundation (the largest of its kind) whose work aims at reducing poverty, maternal and child mortality, malaria, HIV and have been praised for their contribution to the near-eradication of polio. According to the foundation, it has committed over 2 billion dollars to agricultural development in Africa and South Asia over the years.

Gates uses his influence to encourage other wealthier people into philanthropy to improve lives all around the world.

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