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$78bn fortune sees Bill Gates regain world’s richest man title



US philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been once again named as the richest man in the world. His wealth is estimated to be $78 billion (£46.7 billion), according to Forbes magazine.

A former holder of the title, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was briefly overtaken in the ranking by Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim in 2008 and again in 2010. Forbes said he has “bounced back” to reclaim the tag.

Gates has been the richest man in the world for 15 of the last 20 years, and his portfolio is prominent within the world of philanthropy. One of the main focuses of his foundation, which was set up in 1997 and is “driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family”, is to eradicate polio worldwide.

Last month, Gates, along with other philanthropists, was praised for his philanthropic efforts as India entered a third consecutive year with no new cases of polio being reported. Gates, through his foundation, has donated some $225m (£137m) to the cause.

In December last year, he outlined philanthropy as one of the reasons that world poverty, disease and illness has decreased around the world.

Meanwhile, along with fellow magnate Warren Buffett, who slid into fourth place in the rich stakes this year, he is credited with convincing 100 of the world’s super-rich to pledge to give half of their wealth to charity. The initiative, called the Giving Pledge, is also signed by British businessman Sir Richard Branson.

In 2013, the top 10 philanthropic donations totalled $20 billion (£12 billion), with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg topping the charts, giving $990m (£596m) worth of shares in the social network to a California-based foundation.

Further reading:

Facebook’s Zuckerberg tops US philanthropy list after $990m charity donation

Wealth of billionaires grew in 2013 despite global austerity

Bill Gates: philanthropy helped fight poverty and disease in 2013

National Philanthropy Day: famous philanthropists in the spotlight

The Guide to Philanthropy & Giving 2013