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Bono to attend debt relief summit

Posted on Wednesday, January 09 @ 11:51:01 CET by Macphisto

(BBC News) -- U2 frontman Bono is set to lobby African heads of state to use debt relief to fight Aids and poverty.

A statement issued by the charity Oxfam on Tuesday said the singer would attend the Southern African Development Community summit in Blantyre, Malawi next week.

It added that Bono would meet with all the 14 regional leaders attending the summit, called to discuss the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Bono is well-known for campaigning against world debt for the world's poorest countries and for the improvement of trade relations between Africa and the rest of the world.

In 2000, he delivered a petition containing 21.2 million signatures to the UN Millennium Summit, asking them to cancel Third World debt, as part of the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign.

He also made a public appeal to the US Government and visited the head of the World Bank in Prague.

On his visit to Blantyre, the singer will be accompanied by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Sachs.

Their meetings with the 14 heads of state are scheduled for Monday.

The countries represented by the ministers include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The next day, Bono and Mr Sachs will visit Lilongwe, Malawi's administrative capital.


In Lilongwe, Sachs will present a World Health Organisation report on poverty to the government.

The report states that increased health spending on the world's poorest people would boost economic development and ease poverty levels.

Jubilee 2000, a colation of non-tovernmental organistions and religious groups, says huge sums of money are going back to wealthy countries instead of feeding and educating children in the world's poorest nations.

The money was originally borrowed in the 1970s and 1980s, often badly invested or squandered, and in many cases the loan repayments are far beyond the nations' abilities to repay.

Jubilee has been at the forefront of the campaign.

It has been highly influential, persuading the Group of Eight leading industrial countries to promise to write off $100bn (£69bn) of debt at the Cologne summit in July 1999.

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