At ONE, we’ve long talked about the important role the corporate sector has to play in the fight against poverty, alongside governments, civil society and the citizens of developing countries themselves. In New York last weekend with our cofounder Bono, I met with government leaders, business executives and other activists to talk about how each of us has a role to play in bringing about the end of extreme poverty.
So it was disappointing to see the story in today’s Daily Mail which mischaracterises Bono’s views, by setting up a false contradiction between the corporate sector and government aid.
Having established an organisation called DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) back in 2002, Bono has long been a believer in aid and trade working together to lift countries out of poverty. In New York, Bono spoke about the important role both have to play, focusing on the role of the corporate sector at a UN private sector forum and calling for an increase in government aid in an article and in conversations with government officials. A quick google search will show he has been talking for years about needing both government and business at the table.
In his article from Sept 21, he wrote: “Our ultimate goal is the end of aid — growing economies, shared prosperity, self-sufficiency. But the way we’re going to get there — if you can handle the cognitive dissonance — is actually to increase the aid, for now, to the countries that need it the most. The poorest countries get only a small share, 30 percent, of the aid that the world provides. Investing foreign funds can leverage domestic funds to improve basic health services and education for the poorest citizens, especially women and girls.”
Bono has rightly said that aid should not last forever and aid alone is not enough. He and all of us in the ONE Campaign are working to eventually achieve a world where aid is not necessary, but until then it is more important than ever that world leaders keep their aid promises to the millions of people living in extreme poverty.