Bill Gates stuns audience with jar of faeces

Bill Gates shows a slide for an improved toilet system

"We are all here for one reason: because more than half the world's population doesn't have the safe sanitation they need to lead healthy and productive lives", Gates told officials, business owners, bankers and academics at the expo hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The reinvented toilet is a collection of innovative technologies that use different approaches to break down human waste and destroy germs, and leave behind clean water and solids that can be used as fertilizer or disposed of safely outdoors without further treatment, Gates said.

Gates' foundation has awarded researchers grants to develop a khazi that can operate without sewers or electricity, remove harmful bacteria from human waste, and costs less than $0.05 cents per user per day. The event, according to the New York Times, was aimed at allowing brands to "showcase their takes on the simple bathroom fixture. And I definitely never thought that Melinda would have to tell me to stop talking about toilets and faecal sludge at the dinner table", the billionaire told a laughing audience.

It is the first time Gates" foundation has addressed an event in China, where President Xi Jinping is promoting a three-year "toilet revolution' to build or upgrade 64,000 public toilets by 2020 to help boost tourism and economic growth.

He went on to say that pathogens like these cause diseases that kill almost 500,000 children under the age of five every year.

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"So when I talk about components of this toilet being made in China, others in Thailand, others in the USA - you really want to be bringing together all of that IQ so that you're getting that combination".

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2.3 billion people around the world still don't have access to basic sanitation facilities.

The foundation funded scientists to invent toilets that are self-contained - they take human waste, kill unsafe pathogens and convert the resulting material into products with potential commercial value, like clean water, electricity and fertilizer. It's no longer a question of if we can do it. The results of human activity will be processed in it yourself.

Gates said it would be a mistake for the United States to cut aid. As adoption of these multi-unit toilets increases, and costs decline, a new category of reinvented household toilets will become available, the Gates Foundation said.

The world's two largest economies have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war over tariffs for much of the year.

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