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Bill Gates looking to reduce Muslim poverty

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(NBC) -

Microsoft founder Bill Gates says a growing culture of philanthropy in Muslim countries may draw in more donations for his Lives and Livelihood fund aimed at reducing poverty in the Muslim world.

Gates spoke on the sidelines of the Heroes of Polio Eradication Awards in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

He said low oil prices and tight budgets in the Gulf are making it harder to raise money for the fund, but that the Muslim world is home to some of the world's top donors.

"I think the need to help out the poorer countries is clear and stronger than ever. Certainly the price of oil means that these countries are having to prioritize both domestically and internationally the things they do. I do think despite that this will make the priority list because of the effectiveness of the things we were talking about is very very high."

The Gates Foundation pledged $100 million to the fund, and the Islamic development bank put up another $100 million. This leaves the donor target of $300 million. Gates also said the world is "on track" to eradicate Polio by 2019.

"We are down to two countries where we have disease (polio), Pakistan and Afghanistan. Africa, particularly Nigeria, that looked like it might be the toughest place of all, hasn't had Polio for over a year. And, so that's a very good sign."

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