Bono Urges Chirac To Champion Africa

U2 singer Bono today (June 20) urged French President Jacques Chirac to be "a champion for Africa" when he and other world leaders meet next week to discuss a new African development plan.

U2 singer Bono today (June 20) urged French President Jacques Chirac to be "a champion for Africa" when he and other world leaders meet next week to discuss a new African development plan. Chirac has "been in Africa more than any other politician," the U2 singer and activist said before meeting the French leader at his presidential Elysee Palace. "He has a passion for Africa and I want to turn his passion into cash," Bono said.

France and other Group of Eight (G8) nations -- the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, Canada, and Russia -- will discuss the new plan for Africa at a June 26-27 meeting in Canada. It offers a package of trade and aid help for Africa, coupled with assistance in ending civil wars and improving governance across the continent. "We're looking for a champion for Africa for this year's G8 and next year in France," Bono said.

Chirac said he hoped for progress at the summit and pledged that "France will play its part." The French leader said it was essential that industrial nations cancel or reduce debts owed by poor nations and improve development aid.

Bono recently accompanied U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on a 12-day tour of Africa to press for debt relief and more aid.

Meanwhile, President Bush is expected to announce that the U.S. will spend an extra $100 million over five years for education in Africa, White House officials said. Bush will make the announcement, which will include plans for him to visit Africa next year, during a dinner tonight in memory of the Rev. Leon Sullivan, a Philadelphia minister credited with helping end apartheid in South Africa.

Yesterday, Bush promised an extra $500 million over three years to help prevent mothers in parts of African and the Caribbean from transmitting the AIDS virus to their children.


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