Bill Gates predicts no poor countries by 2035

In his foundation's annual letter, Gates says it's a myth that poorer countries cannot become wealthier.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
Bill Gates at Harvard Sept 2013
Bill Gates at Harvard University in September 2013 Harvard/Screenshot by CNET
Bill Gates is one of the chief architects of the digital revolution, famously dropping out of Harvard to start the Microsoft empire. On Tuesday, he argued that that revolution will be one of the things that helps lift poorer countries out of poverty. And he believes that enough to make a heady prediction.

In the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's annual letter, he celebrated the progress that poorer countries have been making, and dismissed it as a myth that those countries cannot become wealthier. "I am optimistic enough about this that I am willing to make a prediction. By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world," said Gates, emphasis his.

He bases his argument on the World Bank's classification of low income, which divides economies based on 2012 gross national income, and he predicts "almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer." Low-income groups, according to the World Bank, make $1,036 or less, and lower-middle income groups make from $1,036 to $4,085.

"Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer," he continued. "Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution."