US aid cuts a threat to Aids fight: Bono

2012-11-15 14:01

Washington - Irish rock star and anti-poverty activist Bono said thousands of people could die from Aids if the United States cuts development assistance to reduce the budget deficit.

Bono, speaking on Wednesday at the World Bank, said a shrinking US budget for global health would leave more than 275 000 people without treatment for the autoimmune disease, leading to 63 000 more Aids-related deaths. He cited figures from Amfar, the Foundation for Aids Research.

"We know there's going to be cuts, we understand that; but not cuts that cost lives," he told a packed atrium at the World Bank, the Washington-based global development lender.

The lead singer from the rock group U2 visits Washington this week to urge politicians to spare US development aid, as Congress is embroiled in negotiations aimed at preventing looming tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff".

If politicians fail to find a deal, automatic spending cuts could slash more than $1bn from the budget for global health and development, according to figures from the Office of Management and Budget.

Bono, who co-founded the anti-poverty group One, said both Republicans and Democrats had been receptive to his message.

"I was terrified about wrestling with this mad lorry that they're driving off the cliff," he said about his visit to Washington.

Poverty elimination deadline

"[But] we've been saying, and I think we've been heard, that an economic recession does not have to be a moral recession."

Bono, sporting his trademark transparent shades, also spoke to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday about the need for transparent data to fight corruption, and the deadline for eliminating poverty.

He also joked that the World Bank needs to do a better job of selling its programmes.

"The World Bank, you don't get a lot of credit when you get things right," he said to a crowd of cheering staff. "This is the home of the crap acronym."

Yet when asked for his final advice to employees at the Bank, he said he had none.

"I want to go work for the Bank," said Bono.

In 2005, he had been floated as a possible candidate for World Bank president, but the position ultimately went to former US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

  • zwartsj - 2012-11-15 14:31

    maybe if numb nuts Bono uses his own money instead of trying to spend other peoples he can stand up and say something. Also U2 moved there operations from Ireland to the Netherlands for tax reasons. So monou if you pay your fair share of tax there maybe money in the pot to support your idealistic ideas.

      johan.louw.399 - 2012-11-15 15:23

      I agree 100% with you zwartsj, if this nut case Bono(Probably also an aids victim) wants to say something then why does he (rock star and anti-poverty activis) not set the example? Why does the whole world expect the USA to pay for every aid out there .Most of the countries hate the USA but expect help from the USA!!! Even South Africa is a prime example. The time has come where the USA needs to take care of his own people. No country offered any assistance / help with the Sandy disaster!!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-15 14:42

    Why must the US be saddled with this burden when the majority of people they'r trying to help hates their guts?

      johan.louw.399 - 2012-11-15 15:33

      Because they are like octopus with 8 arms / hands “give me give me” all the time and do not want to work for a living. Occupy the best land in the world but destroy everything in their path. Haiti is a prime example – just watch the photos & videos… they play dominos and gamble all day long on the street and do nothing and expect the USA to rebuild the country, sell their babies and want them back later for resale!!! When will this ever stop ???

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-11-15 15:13

    The whole of Africa is financially dependent on the West and precious little reach the people that need it. Infrastructure money for one has disappeared 4 times in the last 15 years, millions and millions of British pounds destined for primary education in Kenya has disappeared. It is time that Africa rise up to the occasion and put its money where its mouth is (African solutions for African problems) and look after its own.

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-11-15 16:16

    So Bono? What's the problem?

  • roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-11-15 18:28

    Enough hand outs already! Bono take a hike you ignorant Mick.

  • shannon.wright.9887 - 2012-11-15 20:21

    I'm ready to cut aid entirely. If SA is so flush with cash that Lindiwe Sisulu can jet around in her Gulfstream, then SA can assume the costs of caring for their own ill. We have significant problems to address, we need our money at home.

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