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FILE PHOTO - Philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates (R) and his wife Melinda listen to the speech by French President Francois Hollande, prior to being awarded Commanders of the Legion of Honor at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu

(reuters_tickers)

By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Bill Gates has told Reuters his foundation plans to spend more than $300 million in Tanzania this year on public health and poverty reduction programs.

In an interview, the billionaire said aid was now being spent "in a smarter way" in some parts of the world.

"Some countries have made good progress in the reduction of childhood deaths and reduction in poverty, with Tanzania being a good example," said Gates, during a visit to the east African country.

"I see a chance for the eradication of malaria and HIV/AIDS, but that's gonna take a lot of science and a lot of investment."

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent billions of dollars on aid projects worldwide in recent years, much of it in Africa.

Gates said he was hopeful that the U.S. Congress would continue to resist President Donald Trump's plans to make deep cuts to development aid.

A Republican-led Senate panel last month rejected proposed reductions.

"Trump did propose a big aid cut, but Congress ... pushed back on those proposals. It's clear they may not cut that much aid," he said.

The U.S. government pledged in May to give Tanzania a $526m aid package this year through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program.

(Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Andrew Roche)

Reuters