'Getting Noisier for Africa'

9 Jul 2003
Bono joined politicians in Dublin yesterday to launch the annual UN Human Development report.

Bono joined politicians in Dublin yesterday to launch the annual UN Human Development report - and promised that he and other activists were getting impatient.

"The people I represent - the activists from my community - will take a very, very different tack in the next few years if these trends are to continue in Africa,' he said, as the report warned that the rich world was running dangerously short of time to keep its promises to help the poor.

'This issue is the defining issue of our time and some of us are ready to really work on it, ' he continued. If necessary, 'We will make a much more aggressive campaign.

'We are about to get very noisy, we are about to bang a lot of dustbin lids.

The widening gulf between the global haves and have-nots is starkly revealed in the this latest UN Human Development Report which shows that while the West was booming in the 1990s more than 50 countries suffered falling living standards.

The report charts increasing poverty for more than a quarter of the world's countries, where a lethal combination of famine, HIV/Aids, conflict and failed economic policies have turned the clock back.

Bono said it made him nervous to hear people talk about issues highlighted in the report as charity. 'We never argued debt relief as a charity issue, we argued it as a justice issue.'

In a conference call ahead of yesterday's launch, the singer told a group of international journalists, that the crisis in African poverty was more than just political and financial. More herewww.toledoblade.com

And, as the US President undertakes his first official visit to Africa, Bono offered praise for his promise to spend $15 billion over five years for AIDS relief in Africa, where an estimated 7,000 people a day are dying from the immune-system destroying disease.
'This is not just about Africa.' said Bono. 'It's about America and what Americans want their country to be.
'Fifty years from now people will be asking, did you really let millions die while you had medicines you could easily distribute?'

The delivery of that $15b in funding has not cleared its final hurdle yet. For the latest on Keeping America's Promise, visit DATA here www.datadata.org

According to the UN Report, 'The range of human development in the world is vast and uneven, with astounding progress in some areas amidst stagnation and dismal decline in others. Balance and stability in the world will require the commitment of all nations, rich and poor, and a global development compact to extend the wealth of possibilities to all people.'

Read the report in full here hdr.undp.org

More comment here www.guardian.co.uk


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