Us Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is offering to swap a grey wig for a 'set
of blue wraparound glasses' on his upcoming trip with Bono to Africa.
Speaking ahead of the trip with Bono later this month, O'Neill said that the
pair intended to tour schools, hospital AIDS clinics and other development
projects in Ghana, Uganda, South Africa and Ethiopia. He told reporters
that the goal will be to promote the idea that development aid should
produce results, not just pour money into the region.
"We need to make it work, and the two of us can go and we will attract
attention so the world will see what it looks like and we can show them the
awful part and we can show them the success stories and it will help to
promote the policy changes that need to be made." he said.
Describing the U2 singer as "a world-famous person who cares a lot about
improving living conditions all over the world", the contrast between the
rock star and the politician would increase the chance that the world would
take notice of Africa and its needs.
"As nearly as it's possible to do, we're going to see what life is really
like through each other's eyes. I'm going to get a set of blue wraparound
glasses and I'm going to give him a gray wig."
The idea for the trip came when the pair began meeting in Washington last
year to discuss debt cancellation for the poorest countries. While Africa
gains media interest at times of crisis, such as famine or political
upheaval, this trip will focus attention on some of the region's success
stories as well. Commentators have noted that the trip, which begins on May
20th, will raise awareness of poverty in the region ahead of the G8 Summit
later in the summer.