Bill and Melinda Gates have released their annual letter, this year answering the question “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”

The question was asked by a group of high school students in Kentucky, and tickled the couple’s imagination.

“To fly. To be invisible. To travel through time. All good options,” wrote Bill Gates. "Trying to keep up with our foundation work and our three children’s schedules, we gave responses that will be immediately familiar to other parents.

“More time!”

“More energy!”

“When we sat down to write this year’s letter, those answers stuck with us. Sure, everyone wants more time and energy. But they mean one thing in rich countries and something else entirely when looked at through the eyes of the world’s poorest families.

“Poverty is not just about a lack of money. It’s about the absence of the resources the poor need to realize their potential. Two critical ones are time and energy.

“More than one billion people today live without access to energy. No electricity to light and heat their homes, power hospitals and factories, and improve their lives in thousands of ways.

“Likewise, a lack of time creates obstacles too. It’s not simply the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. It’s the crippling effect of having to perform the backbreaking work that needs to get done when there’s no electricity.

“We are dedicating this year’s letter to talking about the opportunities we see to overcome these often overlooked challenges. We’re writing to high school students because you’re the ones who will ultimately be solving these problems. (Our interests in time and energy are separate from our foundation’s work on health and poverty. But it’s all related. Solving these problems will make it easier to save lives and make the world a more equitable place.)

“More time. More energy. As superpowers go, they may not be as exciting as Superman’s ability to defy gravity. But if the world can put more of both into the hands of the poorest, we believe it will allow millions of dreams to take flight.”

To read the letter, click here.

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