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Connect the World

South Africa Divided over COVID Vaccine Mandates; Pressure Mounts on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Ravid: "Bromance Myth" was About Political Expediency; Niger is First African Nation to Eradicate River Blindness; Gates: No Ambitions to Join the Billionaire Space Race; Alicia Keys Releases Eight Sound Studio Album in Dubai. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 10, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Dubai. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this hour my interview with Bill Gates as he reflects on the year that was and looks ahead to

2022. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World".

Well, it's a little over two weeks since the Omicron variant was detected, and scientists are gaining some clarity at least about its potential

impact. One of South Africa's top Epidemiologist Callum Abdool Karim says there are no red flags about its severity.

He says cases on the whole tend to be milder that matches what other scientists have said in recent days. Regardless, South Africa's overall

positivity rate does continue to climb. That rate, of course, is the percentage of all Coronavirus tests performed that come up positive.

On Tuesday, that number was about 24 percent show on Thursday, it was almost 30 percent. Well, a wider view of this continent shows cases are up

93 percent compared to the week before, but it's the Delta variant that's still dominant there and all over the world.

So our Larry Madowo is in Johannesburg. And Larry, only about a quarter of people there in South Africa are fully vaccinated that is higher than most

places in Africa, but still very low compared to much of the rest of the world is vaccine hesitancy the problem? Or is this low rate more about

distribution challenges? Is it clear at this point?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That could be part of the problem vaccine hesitancy because it's something that government here is quite concerned

about civil society, business labor are all concerned about.

And you see some majors of African companies saying you know what, from January, you have to get vaccinated to come work for us. And if you don't

do that, you might have to test regularly or you could get fired. And nationally now the government is thinking maybe we should make vaccines

mandatory for you to access government services.

We need to go to any public space if we didn't go to a football match. And it's a bit of a hard sale watch.


MADOWO (voice over): A procession of - drives through Soweto. No, it's not a funeral. They're just trying to scare people into getting vaccinated.

Even death will not convince some South Africans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

DIANA, ALEXANDRA RESIDENT: I think the government is trying to control us by using this vaccine.

MADOWO (voice over): The South African government says it has enough vaccines but vaccine hesitancy that has been bubbling under the surface a

spelled into the open.

DIANA: The young people we won't take it unless we have more information.

MADOWO (voice over): As South Africa enters its fourth wave of the pandemic; the country is considering making vaccines mandatory. More than

90,000 deaths and the fear of another hard lockdown have won some people over.

TSHEPO MOKOAPE, ALEXANDRA FOOD VENDOR: We can be stuck like yes, we are like locked in cages we can do anything can be living like this man. Why

not? Why not? We are ultimately dead because we don't want to vaccinate.

MADOWO (voice over): South Africa plans to fully vaccinate at least 70 percent of the adult population by the end of the year. But the current

rate is only about 38 percent. And time is running out.

MADOWO (on camera): There's a spirited public debate in South Africa regarding vaccine mandates and vaccine passports and those opposed to them

as some of the loudest in the public sphere. But whether they like them or not, they're popping up across the nation.

MADOWO (voice over): Some of South Africa's largest companies have announced vaccine mandates for their staff get vaccinated, face testing or

risk getting fired. Influential members of the business, trade union and civil society community support restrictions on the unvaccinated.

LISA SEFTEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND LABOUR COUNCIL: It is now a much stronger call to strengthen existing provisions

in legislation and regulation for it to be mandatory in workplaces entry into big events like soccer matches, cultural events and so on. Only

vaccinated people should have entrance into that.

MADOWO (voice over): The University of the Witswatersrand or Wits is among a growing list of institutions that will require students and staff to be

fully vaccinated. So it can restart some in person classes in the first half of 2022 after nearly two years online.

ZELBON VILAKAZI, VICE CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF WITSWATERSAND: Universities by themselves are aggregators of young people, right? And they've got the

potential of becoming super spreaders that there is broad support by the community therefore I definitely feel that the university was bold and took

decisive leadership action in helping the country get to the next side of COVID.


MADOWO (voice over): But student leader's advocates oppose the school's vaccine mandate.

CEBOLENKOSI KHUMALO, WITS STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Our responsibilities as leaders of society are to ensure that our people, our

students are well informed in terms of their rights. In fact, they have a right to choose to say, can they be vaccinated or not?

MADOWO (voice over): A recent study found support for COVID mandates.

CARIN RUNCIMAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SOCIAL CHANGE, UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBERG: So what we've found is about half of the public support votes

vaccine mandates of workplaces and the introduction of vaccine passports or vaccine passports to enter public spaces.

MADOWO (voice over): Though far from herd immunity, South Africa's vaccination rate is among the highest in Africa, the government and the

private sector think they can do even better.


MADOWO: Becky, this survey I references from the University of Johannesburg. And they also found that there seems to be that those who are

more educated tend to be more vaccine hesitant in South Africa, though class and race play into it.

So for instance, in South Africa, they found that white South Africans tend to be much more vaccine hesitant compared to Black South Africans, or

Indian South Africans. But those who oppose vaccine mandates in South Africa often go back to the dark history of segregation and apartheid.

And they said the government used to tell us what to do once we don't want the government or my employer telling me what to do now.

ANDERSON: Yes, that's fascinating. Good reporting, Larry. Thank you. Larry Madowo is in Johannesburg. Well, despite emerging details about Omicron and

its risks, governments are playing it safe with strict travel restrictions, as you know.

Health Authority on Monday, Hong Kong will impose one of the world's most stringent quarantine measures, travelers arriving from the U.S., for

example, will have to quarantine for 21 days and undergo daily testing the first week.

Those measures are already in place for a dozen countries in Southern Africa. Meantime, Ghana is planning to give COVID shots at the airport to

all unvaccinated citizens and residents entering the country, starting on Sunday. Well, let's bring Eleni Giokos she actually managed to get out of

South Africa where she was a week or so ago.

She's now quarantining in Athens, in Greece, and you've been taking a look at what's going on with regard these travel restrictions. What are you


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, and it's so fascinating, Becky it's not just about the flights that are being canceled. And of

course, that is because it is, you know, government rules that have to be implemented. But it's not about just catching a flight out.

It's about the countries that are willing to take you from a red list country. And that is when it becomes very complex, because then the

question is where will your quarantine? Here in Greece, we don't pay for the 10 day quarantine period. But if you're in the UK, for example, and

you're trying to get back home, or if you're a business leader, or you're you know, you're just a tourist that was stuck in one of the greatest

countries, you have to pay over 2200 pounds per person to quarantine.

African leaders in short, Becky are angry. They are disappointed they say that African countries have been singled out. And as the Omicron variant

has been discovered in so many other countries around the world and their restrictions, and they have not been treated in the same manner.

The W. H. O. the U. N. and other scientists have said that the travel bans are going to have little impact of this on the spread of Omicron.


GIOKOS (voice over): Passengers in South Africa's Johannesburg Airport stand in long queues, many looking stressed and anxious. They aren't

waiting to enter the country but trying to score a ticket out. South Africa is one of several African countries on the travel red list of many airports

across the world.

The detection of new COVID-19 variants has countries changing rules and adding new travel bans and restrictions, making it again more difficult to

plan trips. These bans are evoking pushback from African leaders and much uncertainty for travelers coming in and out of those countries.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: South African scientists discovered as President - was saying Omicron the new variant. And what is

the result? The northern countries impose a ban to punish the excellence that comes from Africa.

GIOKOS (voice over): Some of the countries that have enforced bans on those African countries are tightening other travel regulations like mandatory

quarantines, custom some tourists extra dollars, the U.S. is requiring all inbound international travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within a day

of departing.

In Norway after tiring flights, these passengers wait in line in Chad Heim Airports the government is requiring them to take a COVID-19 test upon



GIOKOS (voice over): In Poland Deputy Health Minister announcing travelers coming into the country from outside the EU Schengen passport freeze zone

will need to show proof of a negative test starting December 15th.

GIOKOS (on camera): When I now arrived in Greece, the Greek government were extremely helpful and by the way, the Greek government is paying for the

entire 10 day quarantine, juxtaposing that against the UK quarantine rules where one person has to pay 2200 pounds for a 10 day quarantine which means

that it makes it a very expensive exercise if you're a tourist that is now stranded in South Africa trying to get back home.

GIOKOS (voice over): In Brazil vaccine passports have been ruled out, but unvaccinated visitors will have to quarantine for five days. With holiday

season fast approaching more changes to travel policies around the world may be installed.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When the ban was put on it was put to give us time to figure out

just what is going on. Now as you mentioned, as we're getting more and more information about cases in our own country and worldwide we're looking at

that very carefully on a daily basis. Hopefully we'll be able to lift that ban within a quite reasonable period of time.


GIOKOS: And the economic impact Becky on the Sub Saharan African countries that African leaders say have been targeted is going to be absolutely

enormous. And it's interesting today Heathrow Airport released a message and urging ministers to lift the travel ban saying that they're seeing a

high volume of business leaders and tourists canceling flights because of fear that they're going to be trapped in another country and they won't be

able to get back home.

Heathrow Airport was also saying that people should be allowed to isolate at home. These travel bans have been very difficult not only for African

countries, but also it's literally a domino effect across various parts of the world as we try and learn more Omicron certainty that it's bringing in


ANDERSON: Eleni Giokos is in Athens, thank you. Well, more pressure on Downing Street as questions grow over the UK government's alleged lockdown

era. Christmas parties a new report says the British Prime Minister's Communications Chief gave out awards and an apparent code rule breaking

party last December that will be December 2020.

Of course an event Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied ever happened. Well, PM's Spokesperson says Mr. Johnson has "Full confidence in the senior

advisor". Well, this follows word from the London MET the police that they will not investigate any of the controversial gatherings because of a lack

of evidence.

Well, I have to tell you looming over all of this is a surge in Omicron cases. UK government numbers say they are by 90 percent in the past day

sparking reports of potentially at least more restrictions CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, standing by for us at Downing Street.

Let's start with what we know about these allegations about or what we calling a COVID era party? December 2020 and the Prime Minister was asking

people in England and across the UK to cancel Christmas at that point, certainly not encouraging by any stretch, any sort of gatherings. So what

do we know at this point?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky let me just add to that picture you painted of what was going on in December 2020? Not only was the Prime

Minister asking for people to cancel Christmas, the ICUs across this country were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

There was a variant of COVID-19 that Kent variant that was spreading like wildfire through here hundreds of people a day were dying, and on December

18th allegedly, there was a Christmas party thrown right behind me here at 10 Downing Street at the Prime Minister's residence in offices.

And in attendance according to our affiliate ITV their sources say Jack Doyle, his Press Chief front and center giving a thank you speech handing

out gifts to up to 50 people in attendance that it's not the only party that's in question.

There's an internal investigation right now over two parties that December 18th alleged incident and another one in late November, where Prime

Minister Boris Johnson was apparently in attendance.

So this body of evidence that there were multiple occasions, parties, social gatherings, however, we want to use the terminology that took place

during this very difficult time in the pandemic last year under lockdown restrictions that body of evidence is growing and growing.

And that's what's making this scandal become wider Becky because it's no longer just about what happened or did not happen and what are the dates

and who was there? It's now becoming about how the Prime Minister has handled this.

There's a sense that he is lying to the public because over and over again the Prime Minister has said there was no party and there were no COVID

rules that were broken. And it's becoming very difficult if you're a member of the public to imagine how on earth can social gatherings take place at

10 Downing Street, multiple parties, apparently, and the Prime Minister would have no knowledge of them?


ABDELAZIZ: So you're now looking at Prime Minister Boris Johnson essentially fighting for his political survival, particularly within his

own party, the Conservative Party because this is not his first scandal, Becky, so the question is, are his own MPs going to continue to back and

continue to support him through yet another scandal especially when questions are being asked about his moral authority, his ability to lead

during a pandemic.

And while there's no election scheduled in this country for the next few years, you can begin to see how if MPs feel pressure? If they feel like

their own political seats are threatened if they start to hear complaints from their own voters, that that could begin to turn the tide?

Now, the option here is a no confidence vote. That would absolutely not happen overnight. You're talking essentially about a Tory rebellion, a

mutiny against him within his own party. That's exactly what Prime Minister Boris Johnson right now is trying to avoid.

ANDERSON: Salma, thank you! WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange could be one step closer to being extradited to the United States. Now the British High

Court has overturned a judge's decision that kept Assange in the UK. The U.S. government says Assange committed espionage when WikiLeaks published

secret military documents.

Well, as Russia builds some troops near the Ukrainian border CNN is told the President of Ukraine had some frank words for President Biden what he

says the U.S. should do next. That is ahead. And I talked to Bill Gates about the challenges of fighting COVID and other infectious diseases as one

nation in Africa achieves a health milestone.


ANDERSON: Well, as concerns build that Russia will invade Ukraine. We are hearing that Kiev is pushing Washington to do more. A Ukrainian Official

tells CNN that during their phone call Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky told Joe Biden that threatening sanctions isn't enough. The source

says Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Biden, that America should act now to head off an invasion.

Well look, Ukraine believes Russia has up to 120,000 troops near it's border it ready to invade as soon as next month. We'll let me bring in

CNN's Sam Kiley for more on what the Americans are saying about this crisis. You spoke to one key U.S. officially who was here in Dubai earlier

on today.

And she was a point person for Washington back in the crisis with Russia and Ukraine in 2014. What did she tell you?


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victoria Nuland, who's now Under Secretary for Political Affairs is squarely at the kind of

cutting edge of this diplomacy, was really very interesting, because there has been a repeated attitude coming from the Russians that Vladimir Putin

repeated again.

Just the other day after his bilateral meeting with the U.S. President, that he wanted a written guarantee that the NATO would not be joining

rather that Ukraine would not be allowed to join NATO. That's not something that the United States is in U.S.'s gift anyway. But I did ask her, why

provoke the Russian bear, this is her response.


VICTORIA NULAND, U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: NATO is a defensive alliance, it is not planning to attack anyone never has in

its 70 plus year history, it's about defending the territory of our members.

It is also an entity that is open to any European democracy that can meet its high standard, so we've always had an open door; we're not going out

and recruiting anybody.

It's Russia that is provoking this conflict. It's Russia that's moving its forces forward towards the Ukrainian border. It's Russia that's changing

the status quo. And what President Biden is saying is this that is provocative that is destabilizing. If you have concerns, let's have a

conversation, not intimidation.


KILEY: Now, safety Nuland really knows this region, it does look from the American perspective that they're very, very anxious that somehow this is

going to result in a conflict, a conflict that Ukrainians is now much more prepared to deal with. And that of course, could lead to a very substantial


Yes, absolutely, Victoria Nuland is here in Dubai doing a sweep through this region. She's been here speaking to leadership here in the UAE, and

indeed, is talking the Israeli Palestinian issue, but specifically here she's talking about Iran. And Dr. Anwar Gargash, adviser to the UAE

President said yesterday, I want to quote him here. I don't see further sanctions as a solution with regard to U.S. with further sanctions on Iran.

He says there are already enough sanctions on Iran. Is there a disconnect between the U.S. and this country, the Emirates, which is emerging as a key

player, when it comes to the regional position here with regard Iran?

KILEY: Yes, and there's been a disconnect really, that goes back to the Trump Administration, when it was very clear to the Emiratis, that pressure

on Iran was actually having an equal and opposite effect that it wasn't breaking through.

The Emiratis decided; let's start a little bit of our own engagement. And that has increased because there's a very strong feeling that we picked up

here, but its right across the region, that the Americans are a very unreliable ally in this context, it can't be fully trusted to be Full

Square behind their allies.

We saw a lot everybody drew that lesson from what happened in Afghanistan. So what Mr. Gargash is saying in the wake and in the immediate wake of

essentially a collapse of talks in Switzerland over the future of the nuclear deal with the Iranians?

The Americans would indicate and they'd like to put the squeeze on the Iranians Emiratis are saying, actually, no. And just in the last 24 hours,

they've actually announced a big solar power deal of solar farm deal there.

So they're getting on a front foot, making much more their own independent decisions for their own future security, putting the Emirates first

perhaps, rather than taking the lead directly from the United States.

ANDERSON: You know, we've heard America First as a policy, you will hear a lot more about UAE first going forward on issues of national security and

national sovereignty. UAE are taking a very firm position. Thank you very much indeed. Donald Trump railing against the former Prime Minister of

Israel, he and Benjamin Netanyahu all used to be pretty close buddies. But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

The former U.S. president telling an Israeli journalist that he felt betrayed by Netanyahu's call of congratulations to Joe Biden, on winning

the U.S. presidency and at the greeting came in Trump's words very early.

Well, it's important to point out that despite Trump's assertions, Benjamin Netanyahu was in fact slow to call Mr. Biden after the election in November

of 2020 election. Of course, you will be well aware that the Donald Trump contested and contested vigorously.

Well, CNN's Hadas Gold joins us now from the southern Israeli port of a Latin. Hadas, Barak Ravid's interview with Donald Trump, he's interviewed

him twice when he was president. And that is when he uncovered this fake sort of friendship. Have a listen to what he said earlier on CNN.


BARAK RAVID, ISRAELI JOURNALIST: It broke the myth that there was this bromance between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. And this was a myth

that both politicians cultivated for their own domestic politics.


RAVID: Netanyahu I don't know if you remember, even during the election campaigns put up those huge billboards with him and Trump standing next to

each other with the headline from a different league. This was his you know, calling cards as a politician his relationship with Trump.


ANDERSON: Hadas Gold is - OK, let's just hear what the response is there.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, so Donald Trump this interview this, these words are coming out and making quite a big splash here in Israel,

not only because of Trump's words and how harsh they were. But also, as Barak Ravid said what they seem to illustrate about this supposedly

bromance this relationship.

I want to read to you what Trump said, Trump told Ravid that he felt betrayed by Netanyahu calling Biden and congratulating him on winning the

presidency. And he felt betrayed because Trump said of what he said he did for Israel, not only recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but also

recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

I want to read you part of this code that's really making a splash here. It was early. OK, let's put it this way. He greeted him very early, earlier

than most world leaders. I've not spoken to him since - him.

Now to be clear, Netanyahu, as you noted, wasn't that fast to call Joe Biden and congratulate him actually took him about two weeks after Joe

Biden won that election to call him and actually that two week delay, did garner a bit of criticism here in Israel.

People were saying that the Israeli Prime Minister should have called his closest ally, the United States, the new president, earlier, instead of

waiting the two weeks. Now we just in the last hour or so got a response from now opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

He said I highly appreciate President Trump's big contribution to Israel and its security. I also appreciate the importance of strong alliances

between Israel and the United States. And therefore it was important for me to congratulate the incoming president.

Now Netanyahu clearly in that statement is trying to sort of straddle the line here both potentially trying to keep Trump fans happy, which there are

many still here in Israel.

But also if he wants to become prime minister again, which he definitely wants to become prime minister again. He needs to keep a good relationship

with United States administration no matter who is president, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Just briefly, you're in a late tonight, you normally based out of our bureau in Johannesburg, why are you there in Jerusalem,


GOLD: I'm in a lot because this is where the Miss Universe competition will be held on a Sunday night and we were actually at the venue just earlier

tonight at the dress rehearsal. There are a lot of sparkles, Becky.

But in addition to the sparkles, there's also politics and Coronavirus of course, with the event being held in Israel, there are some criticism. In

fact, South Africa's government withdrew its support. It's because of the Israeli Palestinian issue.

Although the contestant is still competing, Coronavirus has also been a big issue here because Israel shut down the border to foreign nationals. There

will not be the international fans from around the world coming to the competition. Instead, most of the audience will be local Israelis, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. You're in a late tonight normally in Jerusalem. And so as I mistakenly pointed out, thank you for that. So still ahead on

"Connect the World". I sit down with a man who played a big role in one nation's push to eliminate a devastating illness.

Bill Gates talks about fighting infectious diseases and an awful lot more in what was a very wide ranging interview with the Microsoft Co-Founder.

And I sat down with musician Alicia Keys ahead of her new album release concert here in the Al Wasl dome behind me at EXPO 2020, all of that coming

up after this.


ANDERSON: Well, this week here at the expo and historic announcement on global health, Niger has become the first African country to eradicate a

disease known as river blindness. We're ending river blindness in Niger is a feat that was decades in the making. And it's been a truly global effort

with a connection right here, where we are now.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed who is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, established an initiative that is raised hundreds of millions of dollars, funneled into

a larger fund dedicated to ending diseases like river blindness.

He says today's announcement is not only an incredible achievement for Niger, but it also provides a blueprint for eliminating other neglected

tropical diseases and thereby helping improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Well, the disease has been successfully eliminated in other parts of the world even as it continues to impact Africa. Here's a closer look now at

just how debilitating it is, and how one African nation managed to eradicate it.


ANDERSON (voice over): This is the largest river in West Africa, the Niger River. It's been giving life to the people living along its banks for

decades, but these waters have also been a source of a debilitating disease.

Onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, the disease is transmitted to humans through exposure to repeated bites of infected black

flies that breed along fast flowing rivers in areas that are highly fertile for crops.

That gives the power to empty out entire villages and cause severe food insecurity. Its symptoms include severe itching, disfiguring skin

conditions and visual impairment, including permanent blindness. But now there's hope.

Niger has become the first country in Africa to successfully eradicate river blindness. Daniel Blackie is one of the world's top experts on black

flies, who spent years studying the disease on the ground. He's part of the driving force behind this success.

DANIEL BOAKYE, SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER, PROGRAMS AT THE END FUND: It's an achievement that encourages other African countries that Onchocerciasis or

river blindness can be eliminated, not only as a public health problem but its transmission.


ANDERSON (voice over): It was made possible through a UAE based initiative called reaching the Last Mile, jointly supported by the Abu Dhabi Crown

Prince cord, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The aim of its 10 year $100 million fund is to control and ultimately eradicate diseases that hinder the health and economic prospects for some

of the world's poorest populations. The focus is on neglected tropical diseases such as river blindness. Tala Al Ramahi is the acting Managing

Director of The Reach campaign.

TALA AL RAMAHI, ACTING MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE REACH CAMPAIGN: The reason the work that we're doing is so important to His Highness and also the

partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is that we are able to reach a pathway to elimination that removes people from the cycle

of poverty.

ANDERSON (voice over): Eliminating river blindness in Niger is literally life changing. But there are still millions of Africans suffering from the

disease across the continent. The team though, is optimistic.

BOAKYE: We are now hopeful that there will be more successes coming out because of what has been achieved in Niger.

RAMAHI: For us to demonstrate that disease elimination is achievable within our lifetime is something that brings hope.

ANDERSON (voice over): Hope that will allow generations of families to live longer and healthier lives.


ANDERSON: Well, you heard in my report there about the role, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has played.

Well, I sat down with Bill Gates a partner, of course, in that effort in a wide ranging interview. But I started by asking about the challenges in

fighting infectious tropical diseases. This is what he said.


BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Well, the infectious diseases, including the neglected diseases and malaria are vastly

underfunded. You know, for very modest amounts of money, we can perform these campaigns, you know, and prevent lots of blindness.

We can buy bed nets, get those out, reduced childhood death, we really need to invest in the health of Africa.

So children survive, so they have good nutrition and that's the future so that they can be well educated and lift up the continent, but because

people don't see these diseases, you know, it's they're vastly underfunded.

And so, you know, we're always going out and saying we want more governments, philanthropists to get involved.

ANDERSON: And how has COVID affected the advancement, the progress of the work you've been doing in other diseases?

GATES: Well, COVID, we've had lots of shutdowns, we've had, you know, huge economic deprivation where trade and tourism have gone down. Its disruptive

to health systems. But you know we're rushing to get vaccines out before some variant comes up that might do a better job of infecting these


ANDERSON: Let's talk about vaccine inequality, because quite frankly, not enough is being done. Is it? What's the solution here, Bill Gates?

GATES: Well, the initial problem was the supply of the vaccine. And unfortunately, a lot of vaccines succeeded. And the manufacturer - has been

ramping up. And so we're now running into the challenge of how good are the logistics in the country.

And how much demand is there? You know, sadly, the same type of misunderstanding, lack of trust about vaccines is even worse in a lot of

these countries than it is in the rich countries.

ANDERSON: Have you been surprised, shocked by the effectiveness of the anti Vax campaigns? When you've been caught up in a lot of misinformation

yourself? Conspiracy theories abound? What's your sense of where that's coming from and where that's going?

GATES: Well, we've always had some vaccine hesitation, you know, it's a, a metal needle, you know, the child cries. It's a foreign substance. And so

there's, you really need to trust that the right safety checks, the right manufacturing's mean been done, because the pandemic is such a surprise and

so negative.

People do seek out simple explanations that you know, maybe it was caused by something or there some ill intent between either the pandemic or the

vaccines that somebody has done intentionally.

You know, if we get into communities and find the right people who can overcome that you know here we've got kind of a rush because the vaccine

levels will determine how much death is ongoing. It's primarily the unvaccinated who are dying.


ANDERSON: You've recently said that we can control the COVID pandemic; you said you hope by next year, how?

GATES: Well, getting more vaccine coverage over time and you know, so the peak impact should go down quite a bit and each side will have to make the

tradeoff of, you know, they still wearing masks, what kind of events are they doing. But we can look forward to a time where it will be disease more

like flu has been, or it's not completely disrupting things like education.

ANDERSON: Despite the fact that we are continuing to see these new variants not - the most recent.

GATES: You know there's still some evaluation being done. You know, what are the health impacts? It's clearly very transmissive. You know, we're

working on adaptive vaccines that there's very good chance we'll need those looks like some of therapeutics are not affected.

So hurrying to get those out will make a lot of difference in the depth reduction. But even if we have to make a special vaccine and get that out,

I don't think in 2023 will have the level of disruption we have you know, for the first three years of this.

ANDERSON: You talked about misinformation and disinformation. Facebook's had a tough year, numerous allegations about deceptive practices over

misinformation and indeed as hate speech.

We recently saw the company spent something like 10 billion on what's known as the metaverse, the centralized virtual world. Mark Zuckerberg is betting

Facebook's future on it; critics have called it dystopian, a bad idea or a wise investment, in your opinion?

GATES: Well, certainly the technology of projecting yourself in the virtual space, you know, all the companies in the industry see value in that, you

know, for future virtual meetings, you'll be able to look at somebody.

And right now, you know, with Zoom or teams, you can't tell who's looking at who, and you can't go have a side conversation. And so, yes, there,

whether it's playing games or fantasy worlds or even just straightforward business meeting, that kind of capabilities is getting better.

They're one of many, you know, who's investing in that in you know, it's great. They believe in it, you know, marks done, been very successful.

ANDERSON: Microsoft also looking at the metaverse.

GATES: Absolutely yellow, you know, each comes with their own strengths. You know, Facebook, more on social networking, Microsoft more in terms of

the business usage of this capability.

ANDERSON: I want to talk about climate crisis. How did you think COP26 went, ultimately?

GATES: Well, there are so many lenses you could apply. I mean, we certainly didn't solve the climate problem. The positive things, I would point to

really three, the private sector engagement, a lot of the large companies were there.

And joining partnerships, like when I've been driving called Breakthrough Energy, catalysts, the idea that innovation will be important, so that

green products are not super expensive, whether it's green, B for steel, or meat, then finally this issue of helping out countries deal with climate

change, particularly the poor countries for the first time that did get some visibility.

And so we've come a long way since Paris, we're nowhere near solving the problem. It's a way more complicated problems and people appreciate. You

know, it's not the case that we can just, you know, consume less and this problem will go away.

ANDERSON: This is about trying to find some solutions here on earth to save this planet. This same year or 2021, some of the world's billionaires are

squaring off yet again, in what's become a rivalry for the agent space. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, completing the commercialization of

the space industry. Do you have any ambitions by the way to head off into space?

GATES: No, that you know I'm until we can get rid of malaria and TB and all these diseases that are so terrible in poor countries, that's going to be

my total focus.

ANDERSON: Should these billionaires be focusing as you are on the problems on Earth, rather than chasing the race into space?

GATES: Well, the space race a lot of that is commercial market having great internet connections. Throughout Africa, it's a good thing using

observation satellites to see what's going on the agriculture and climate change.

You know, so that's not philanthropically motivated all together, you know, I do hope that people are rich will find ways to give their wealth back to

society with high impact. Clearly they've got skills, you know, they can't or shouldn't want to consume it all themselves.


ANDERSON: It's been a tough year for so many people. I know it's been a tough year for you, personally. When you reflect on this year and you look

forward to 2022, what are your thoughts?

GATES: Well, there's some good things that we need to build on the innovation in the vaccines, the speed at which we approved new medicines,

and we need to carry that forward and apply it to things like HIV and malaria.

You know, we, the inequities are worse than ever, whether it's, you know, education in the United States or the impoverishment of the countries in

Africa. So I hope we don't turn inwards, you know, off when you have problems domestically or setbacks, your willingness to think about people

who are far away, that gets reduced.

And yet, you know, we're kind of at a time where that's even more important than ever. You know, I'm optimistic about some of the great new tools and,

you know, even though causes like climate, we're seeing more energy more ingenuity go into it.

ANDERSON: What's been most tough for you during this pandemic, during this last 18 months?

GATES: Well, my work you know, to see the setbacks is tough, you know, think something's my personal life or top I mean, it's, you know - but I'm,

I'm looking forward.

ANDERSON: 2022 ultimately, if you had one aspiration, what would it be?

GATES: Well, it'd be great to bring the pandemic really under control. You know, we're close on polio eradication, that's a big, important cost to me.

So if Afghanistan can stay stable, it looks like we'll finally get wild polio down to zero and we've been working on that for over 20 years. Other

people have been working on it even longer, so that'd be high on my list, the polio eradication.


ANDERSON: Bill Gates speaking to me earlier this week. Coming up, South Africa's rivers is seen through the lens of conservation photographer,

Jeremy Shelton.



ANDERSON: Well to "Call to Earth" now where we are celebrating a week of programming dedicated to the theme rewind and restore. Today we have a

story from South Africa view about documenting the fragility of freshwater life. Have a look at this.


JEREMY SHELTON, FRESHWATER CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST: Rivers really are the arteries of our planet. They transport cool, clean water from the

mountains, down across landscapes, and give us this critical resource that we rely on so heavily for drinking, for farming, for industry. Without

these arteries bringing us clean water will be in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeremy Shelton is a biologist and photographer at the freshwater Research Center in South Africa. A World Wildlife Fund report of

freshwater fish featured Shelton's images, which caught the attention of actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, we shared them on Instagram.

SHELTON: It's all about inspiring people to become more aware of the natural world around them. Being able to take these snapshots bring them

above the surface; share them with people that have never had a chance to see this world that I care so much about. And once that connection is

forged to change the way they behave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than half of all fish live in freshwater environments, which are increasingly under pressure from a variety of

threats, including climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.

SHELTON: Behind me here you can see the Roanoke River, a beautiful mountain stream here in the Cederberg Mountains. And this is actually the site of

the first freshwater fish restoration projects here in South Africa, where alien freshwater fishes were removed to create room for indigenous species

that were running out of habitat in the wild, a huge success and a big conservation game for freshwater ecosystems in South Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Building back freshwater ecosystems is an important step in the fight against climate change.

SHELTON: The stability of our planet is intimately linked to having healthy, functioning ecosystems, whether it's the forests that take a lot

of carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere, or the freshwater ecosystems that really feed those forests and allow them to grow.

It's all connected. And it's really in our best interests to ensure that all of these different kinds of ecosystems stay as healthy as possible for

as long as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The situation is urgent. In 2018, South Africa released a report on biodiversity, which revealed that freshwater fish were

the most threatened species group in the country. Shelton is determined to do all he can to save these precious resources.

SHELTON: I'm hoping that through connecting with these previously unseen worlds that people will treat them a little bit more gently that people

will be a little bit more thoughtful about the way we live our lives and about the way we interact with these natural ecosystems.

Whether it's taking a shorter shower, or accessing rainwater, or brushing our teeth for a minute less, every little bit of water saving can help. The

conservation needs for freshwater life are extremely high.

And it's really reaching a tipping point now where it's take action, or we stand to lose a lot of these species and the ecosystems in which they



ANDERSON: Well, let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the #calltoearth. Stay with us. We will be right back.



ANDERSON: Well, that is Alicia Keys the 15 time Grammy Award winning artist and she is here at EXPO 2020 Dubai for the release of her eighth studio

album entitled keys. Well, I caught up with a head of a big show here tonight and have a listen to what she told me.


ALICIA KEYS, 15-TIME GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST: Oh, the audience is going to get so much goodness. First of all I'm going to be completely thrilled

and excited and turned up.


ANDERSON: Well, the audience is going to love it, she says and that concert here at the Al Wasl stage under the dome right behind me. And by the way,

you can catch my full interview with Alicia Keys who is terrific during the Christmas week. Well that is "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson, have

a very, very good weekend.