Echoing comments made last week by U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates called on leaders of wealthy nations to remain steadfast in their relief efforts to fight poverty, hunger and diseases such as HIV/AIDS despite the global economic crisis, Reuters reports.

During a visit to New Delhi on behalf of his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates said November 5 that a “strong voice” was needed to ensure that the world's poorest people would remain a priority for developed nations.

“We certainly are concerned that some of the rich world governments could either reduce their increase or even cut back the amount they spend on these issues,” Gates said. “We have to admit that getting that generosity gets even more challenging when there's tough economic times.”