Bill Gates thinks that there will be few if any poor nations by 2035, even after inflation, and that common myths about poverty are preventing the world’s poorest nations from developing faster, reports Simeon Bennett and Laura Marcine for Bloomberg.

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Bill Gates’ three myths about poverty

Bill Gates said that people believe poor nations will always stay poor, that foreign aid isn’t effective, and that overpopulation will prevent countries from exiting poverty. But his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which Gates founded in 90s and has occupied himself with running since he stepped back from Microsoft) has made him optimistic about the potential for development even in the most impoverished parts of the world. He thinks that a combination of better technology and learning best practices from more successful countries will give these countries the tools to develop a functioning economy in the coming years.

“It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous,” Bill Gates said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Gates: Most countries will have more per capita than China today

Gates doesn’t think that poor countries will be part of the developed world in just two decades. Rather, he thinks that most countries will be part of what we now consider to be the low-middle class and that 70% will have a higher per capita incomes than China does now and 70% will have higher per capita incomes than India currently does. He does acknowledge that some countries are being held back by intractable political situations, like the isolated dictatorship in North Korea or war zones in central Africa that may hold those countries back.

But these are the exceptions, in his view, and he is using the recent interviews and Foundation letter to make positive headlines in the face of so many negative ones in attempt to make the conversation about underdeveloped nations less cynical and more hopeful.

“Headlines in a way are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not,” said Bill Gates. “The cynicism is holding us back.”