Bill Gates received an honorary doctorate degree Thursday from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia for his dedication to philanthropic activities in the third world. The Microsoft founder has been actively travelling the globe to provide medical and scientific aid to various developing countries. Gates has also campaigned for birth control research and the eradication of dengue and malaria in susceptible nations.
According to Ethiopian website Ethiosports, Gates received the degree before Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, foreign minister Tedros Adhanom, Speaker of the House Kassa Teklebirhan and Addis Ababa university president Admassu Tsegaye.
Gates expressed his appreciation for the conferment, according to The Africa Report. Gates said:
“This is one of the leading institutions of higher learning in Africa – a continent whose future has been a central interest of my career ever since my wife and I began our foundation nearly 15 years ago. I am deeply grateful for this honorary degree. I never got my real degree. I dropped out to start Microsoft and never went back, so getting a diploma I can put on the wall and show my father is a relief.”
This isn’t the very first honorary degree to be conferred to Gates. He has received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and China’s Tsinghua University. The degree he accepted from Addis Ababa University would be the first he receives from an African state.
Bill Gates praised the noticeable improvement in the African economic landscape, especially in Ethiopia, a country that periodically faces famine and drought:
“The real fuel for development will be the resources of African nations themselves – whether that’s in the form of government funding, private-sector investment, or just plain human creativity at all levels of society. This is where the idea of ‘African countries learning from each other’ becomes so important. If you want to spend your national budgets as effectively as possible, there is now a clear path for doing exactly that – and Africans themselves are defining that path, for others to follow if they choose.”
After the ceremony, Bill Gates and foreign minister Tedros conducted a forum with students and faculty members of the university to discuss various tech and humanitarian issues facing the country. One of the questions raised was regarding the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation and the roles it might play in Ethiopia’s future. Bill Gates replied positively, affirming that his foundation would continue to actively support pro-human initiatives in the developing world.
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