February 18, 2011 / 6:38 PM / 9 years ago

France seeks Bill Gates insight on aid financing

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday he had asked billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to come up with ideas on how innovative financing could be used to fund aid to poor countries.

Sarkozy, addressing finance ministers gathered in Paris for the first summit of France’s G20 presidency, said Gates’ expertise and commitment made him the right person to make a fair case for such projects.

Sarkozy told a news conference he had asked Gates to present his conclusions at a November heads of states summit in the Riviera resort of Cannes that will conclude France’s G20 presidency.

Gates, founder of Microsoft, has a $34 billion (£21 billion) foundation largely devoted to funding health projects in developing countries and has become an authority on new strategies for international development.

France has already said it will push to introduce a financial transaction tax that would target speculators to raise funds to aid poor countries, even if the tax has to be introduced in a small group of countries as a first step.

Sarkozy said such “common sense” financing could also be used to help the developing world cope with the effect of climate change.

Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou, editing by Mike Peacock

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