Bolivia labels Bill Gates’ chicken donation as “offensive”

Bill Gates’ effort to donate 100,000 chickens to impoverished countries has met resistance from the Bolivian government, which has refused its portion of the poultry donation and labelled the gift as “offensive”.

Bolivia labels Bill Gates’ chicken donation as “offensive”

The Gates Foundation announced in June this year that it was partnering with charity organisation Heifer International for a project dubbed “Coop Dreams”, which aims to distribute 100,000 chickens among countries with high poverty levels, mainly throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but also Bolivia.

“When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about,” Gates says in a blog post titled “Why I would Raise Chickens”. “It has been eye-opening for me to learn what a difference they can make in the fight against poverty. It sounds funny, but I mean it when I say that I am excited about chickens.”

The Bolivian government has not, however, been receptive to Gates’ philanthropic gesture. “He does not know Bolivia’s reality to think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce,” said Bolivia’s minister of rural development and land, César Cocarico, according to Reuters. “Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia, and once he knows more, apologise to us.”

Bolivia says it already produces 197 million chickens per year, and has the capacity to export 36 million chickens. More generally, a recent

report from the International Monetary Fund predicted that Bolivia’s GDP will grow by 3.8% in 2016. The World Bank says economic growth in Bolivia has averaged 4.8% over the past seven years, but notes that “despite these advances, moderate poverty affects nearly half of the population and income inequality continues to be high”.

“[Gates should] inform himself that us Bolivians have a lot of production and do not need any gifted chicks in order to live, we have dignity,” Cocarico told assembled journalists in Bolivia’s capital of La Paz. “It think it’s rude coming from a magnate that does not know Bolivia’s reality.”

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