We need Africa. Apparently.

I never know what to make of Bono as an activist. His blog on FT has a rather passionate plea about why the rest of the world needs Africa, and therefor how it deserves more aid. That’s a slightly tricky argument. What if we don’t need Africa’s minerals, trees etc., then is it okay not to give them aid? Not that I have anything against need-based aid, but given his own political stand, doesn’t this sound a little .. dubious?

Every time you make a cell phone call you make it with the help of coltan, an African metallic ore. It’s a rich continent: zinc, copper, oil, gas, silver, gold, diamonds… Just for its resources Africa will play a critical role in how the 21st century is shaped. If we want to breathe we’re going to need African cooperation on climate change (Congo is the second biggest rainforest on earth.) Anyway, I tell you all this to point out that while there is a meltdown happening on the markets and in our banking systems, you FT readers should keep one eye on the opportunity of Africa.

Sometimes I wish he’d just go back to making good music.

8 Comments

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8 Responses to We need Africa. Apparently.

  1. The question is not whether _we_ need Africa but does Africa need Africa. As long as this sort of arguments are made – high on rhetoric and low on content – Africa will remain a white man’s burden. And as long as it remains that, aid will fill the coffers of dictators and ordinary people will live their sorry lives for 30 odd years and die.

  2. Perhaps he is appealing to those folks for whom compassion is not a good enough reason? And that could be a significant (perhaps overwhelming :) ) % of the human populace ?

    Arun

  3. Matheus

    In the economic world we gotta speak in their language to make them understand us.

  4. Its weird that a man who can write such beautiful songs can sound totally off key in his blog! I miss the good ol’ Bono (and U2) that I grew up with!

  5. A saying in Tamil, badly translated, goes: “A dance-loving cow should be milked dancing, and a music-loving cow should be milked singing”. This logic made sense to Bono, I guess — the only thing that appeals to the rich is the promise of more riches.

  6. Who are these people trying to logically support Neha or Bono or both or neither? Did anyone ask these people for their arguments? Ivallam yaru? Engenthu vara?