Microsoft founder and world’s richest man, Bill Gates explains how he would live on $2 a day

Currently, the world’s richest man, Bill Gates has a net worth of $79.4 billion. Just imagine if the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist had only $2. What would he do then?

In a recent Gates Notes blogpost, he said that investing in poultry would his first move if he were living on $2 per day. This is because he has spent a lot of time working and aiding people in very poor African countries, so he knows the best ways to survive with just a couple of dollars.

“That’s what I would do – I would raise chickens,” he says, going on to explain some of the reasons behind his decision.

“Through my work with the (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), I’ve met many people in poor countries who raise chickens, and I have learned a lot about the ins and outs of owning these birds,” Gates writes. “As a city boy from Seattle, I had a lot to learn! It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens.”

Gates goes on to spell out the importance of poultry to the poor, and why his foundation is working toward creating sustainable market systems for poultry in sub-Saharan Africa.

He explains that firstly they are easy and cheap to take care of, and they can help keep children healthy because they are an invaluable source of food. He further adds that eggs can help fight malnutrition, but there’s also the choice of letting eggs hatch, sell the chicks, and with the money buy food.

By Gates’ calculations, chicken are a good investment, and here’s what he has to say:

“Suppose a new farmer starts with five hens. One of her neighbors owns a rooster to fertilize the hens’ eggs. After three months, she can have a flock of 40 chicks. Eventually, with a sale price of $5 per chicken – which is typical in West Africa – she can earn more than $1,000 a year, versus the extreme-poverty line of about $700 a year.”

Gates wants to help families in need do just that. In the blog post, he points to his recent partnership with Heifer International, a charity that donates livestock in an effort to fight poverty around the world.

He is so confident in his bet on chickens that he’s promised to donate a flock on behalf of each person that registers for free with Gates Notes and reads the related materials he posted Tuesday.

“Our foundation is betting on chickens,” Gates writes. “Our goal: 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.”

On Wednesday, Gates and his team celebrated the initiative’s launch by building an educational exhibit and chicken coop, called Coop Dreams, in New York City. Students and guests were invited to explore the exhibition at 4 World Trade Center.

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