Bono: Merkel’s Africa visit is vital, for Europe too
Berlin, 28 August 2018 – A couple of days before the Europe leg of the U2 tour kicks off in Berlin, Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of the ONE Campaign, today met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. The ONE Campaign is a non-profit organization founded to fight for ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting took place one day before the Chancellor starts her 3-day-trip to Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal.
After the meeting, Bono, who today published an op-ed in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung “Europe Is A Thought That Needs to Become a Feeling,” (link) praised the German Chancellor for her unwavering support of a values-based Europe:
“If we want Europe to succeed, we need strong external partnerships as well as strong internal partnerships. Africa, like us, is a continental union, our neighbour just thirteen kilometres away, and we have to rise to the challenges and seize the opportunities of our futures being bound up together. The Chancellor has been a leading light on this thinking, and her pragmatic leadership is taking her to Africa this week to help untap Africa’s economic potential. She could not have been more serious today about the strategic importance to Germany, to Europe, of a better partnership with African countries.
“We all now understand that Europe and Africa’s fate and future are bound together. We can prosper together or suffer together; we can win together or lose together. We need good people to rise to this challenge, because if they don’t, others will.”
The ONE Campaign is currently working on securing a strong Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF, 2021-2027), which is the seven-year budget of the European Union (EU) that will soon be decided upon. The EU is a crucial player in the fight against extreme poverty. Together with its member states it is by far the biggest donor in the world. The EU has to seize the historic potential of this budget which will end three years before the world will take stock of where we stand in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Compared to the last MFF, an increase of 40 billion Euro for external financing is needed, focusing on the places, people and issues that need it the most and in doing so creating a more stable and prosperous future for both Europe and Africa.
Bono added: “At a European level, the European budget could be a decisive element in a new era for Europe and Africa, delivering for both continents. Aside from reflecting strategic objectives, budgets are moral documents. The MFF must demonstrate what Europe stands for, not only what Europe is against.”
ONE in Germany calls on Germany to develop a true partnership with Africa. It should encompass development cooperation but also address the current challenges in trade and transparency/anti-corruption. The G20 Compacts with Africa can only be a start, since a true partnership must look beyond foreign direct investment. The continent is projected to have 2.5 billion inhabitants by 2050 with half of them being under the age of 25. If we were to offer the young African generation opportunities in their home countries, we have to make sure that the 22.5 million people who join the African job market annually actually get an employment. In order to make the best out of this demographic development, we need to boost investment in education, employment, empowerment, and global health. ONE in Germany calls on the German government to step up their support for global health to contribute to reaching SDG 3 in 2030. The upcoming financing conferences of the Global Financing Facility, the Global Fund, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance are concrete opportunities for Germany to continue its support for global health even further.