Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Gates predicts four-year downturn

The former head of Microsoft, Bill Gates, believes it could take four years for global economies to return to positive growth.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has told the BBC that it could take as much as four years for economies in trouble to return to positive growth.

He said the upturn would be driven by innovations in science and technology.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, where he is promoting his charitable foundation, he said the world's poor could not wait for economic recovery.

He said it was up to philanthropists like himself to urge governments, firms and individuals to keep on giving.

Bill Gates, the world's richest philanthropist, said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has lost one fifth of its value in the current crisis.

Despite his prediction that it could be as much as four years before many economies see growth again, he insisted the fundamentals of the global economic system were sound.

Capitalism, he said, had led to incredible opportunity and innovation, and when in five to 10 years, a new upward trend is established, he believed advances in medicine, genetics and software would drive new growth.

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