Bill Gates was asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in energy and food prices, will affect the global economy.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said rising inflation and interest rates in Western economies would drive the world toward an economic slowdown “eventually,” triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It comes on top of the pandemic where government debt levels were already very, very high and there was already some sort of supply chain problems, I’m afraid the bears on this one have a pretty strong argument that concerns me a lot,” Gates said on Sunday “CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
“It’s likely to accelerate inflationary problems” and “force an increase in interest rates, which will eventually result in an economic slowdown,” the philanthropist and billionaire continued.
“When the rich countries have these big-budget problems, the health needs of places like Africa get deprioritized,” he said. “So I’m afraid that the bears on this one have a pretty strong argument that concerns me a lot.”
The Federal Reserve of the United States hiked its benchmark interest rate range by 0.5% points last week to combat inflation, and it is anticipated to do so again at its next two meetings this summer. Though the Fed says it intends to keep the economy from entering a recession, fears are growing that it will, as evidenced by Wall Street’s miserable week.
Gates also discussed his new book, during an interview with CNN “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic,” arguing that the country needs to be better prepared for the next global medical disaster.
“It’s hard to overstate how unprepared we were for what was sadly even somewhat predictable, and so hopefully this is our big wake-up call to do like we do for earthquake and fire and war to really be able to respond correctly,” Gates said of pandemic preparedness.
The Microsoft founder has already spoken out about the lack of preparations made in front of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the potential that the worst of the outbreak has yet to happen.
“It’s not likely, I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom, but it’s way above a 5 percent risk that this pandemic, we haven’t even seen the worst of it,” Gates said in an interview with the Financial Times.