22/5/2006 12:46:19 AM
By Lesley Wroughton
ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) - The recent goodwill of wealthy industrialised countries towards Africa could dissipate unless the continent tackles corruption, rock star and activist Bono told African finance ministers on Sunday.
"There is a window of opportunity but it could close if things like the corruption issue are not tackled or the peer review mechanisms are not felt to be real," the U2 frontman said in the Nigerian capital Abuja in one of his first speeches that emphasised malfeasance on the continent.
"The single biggest obstacle to business and the renewal of the economies in the south is corruption and the single biggest obstacle to getting start-up money for those businesses, if you want to look at aid as investment, is corruption.
Rich nations pledged last year to double aid to Africa by 2010 and cancel debts of some poorest countries, but Bono said those promises could be withdrawn if recipient governments weren't clean.
"The small 'c' in corruption is a plague as deadly as the HIV virus and it is not just the businessman, the ones that are hurt the most are always the ones that have nothing," he said.
Excuse me but....................... A very valiant attempt, Bono, but it could take 50 years or more to sort this problem. Corruption is rife from the top down. In order to stop it the government has to really want it and the government are the most corrupt of all. As long as countries like Angola and Nigeria are rich in oil there will be corruption. Certainly my many Nigerian friends are saying that the oil has made no difference to their lives. Greedy men in power with 'tribal mentality' will always see their position as supreme and above the Law, the People, and more important poverty.
President Jo Bloggs doesn't give a toss about the starving millions as long as he can filter away his pension millions. In fact if Western countries give aid he doesn't have to worry about them, just take his 'cut'.
If he had to live on a couple of kilos of maize for weeks in the most appalling conditions then, and only then, he may see the error of his ways.
I live in a very oil rich country. The poverty here is often appaling. The oil belongs to the country, the people. It is the moral responsibility of the countries leaders to ensure that poverty in their country is eradicated using the resources at hand.