Bono Kicks off African Economic Tour
Politics makes strange bedfellows, as does rock music. On Tuesday the unlikely pair of Irish rocker Bono, 42, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill stopped in Ghana, their first destination on an 11-day fact-finding mission to Africa, reports Reuters. Bono, whom O’Neill says talked him into the trip, is looking to convince the Treasury chief that African countries get good use out of Western aid. O’Neill has been outspoken in his criticism of past anti-poverty programs, saying they failed to lead to real development. The musician confessed to bringing only one tie in his luggage and said that the impeccably groomed O’Neill was a “very brave man” for letting him on the plane. But Bono soon proved his worth when the microphone O’Neill used to speak to reporters gathered in Ghana’s presidential palace started to go bad. “I know a little bit about those things,” said Bono, fixing the feedback. The tour is due to take them to South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia. The two will visit schools, AIDS clinics and other facilities sponsored by organizations such as the World Bank, in an effort to get a better understanding of what types of aid really work, Reuters reported. Bono has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of erasing the public debt of poor countries, mostly in Africa, asking that Western countries such as the U.S. forgive their debts. “I believe a fundamental human right is the ability to start again, to break free from the sins of the father,” Bono said in Ghana.