Bono Fights for Fair Trade in Africa
Thu, 25 May 2006 16:34:02
Oh, Bono -- it's always the sex, drugs, and rock and roll with that guy. Either that or farm subsidies. Finishing a six-nation African tour with a stop in Accra, the capital of Ghana, Bono has begun working to assist African farmers in gaining a fair shake in the global marketplace -- something currently prevented by agricultural subsidies that benefit farmers in Europe and the United States.
"The social movements will give us political muscle and that makes it doable," he told Reuters. "But it is going to be a big fight." The U2 frontman and Nobel Prize nominee has surely been encouraged by his success in pressing rich nations to step up their efforts to eradicate debt in the world's poorest nations. Aid to Africa will become increasingly imperative if leaders hope to even the playing field for trade.
There were some bright spots along the way, such as a tour of A to Z Textile Mills Ltd. in Tanzania, where they are making long-lasting mosquito nets treated with insecticide -- the first manufacturer in Africa to do so. 80 percent of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa, and it's estimated that the number could be halved if these nets were made available to families.
"It's about as exciting a reason to get out of bed as I have ever heard," Bono said after touring the facilities. "That is changing the world."
In all, it was a very different sort of African safari for Bono, who also toured clothing factories, schoolhouses and cotton fields, and had a sit-down with Ghana's President John Kufuor. He even found some time for music, joining a local band for a spin through a 1,000-year-old chant while on the banks of the Niger River.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff