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Friday, March 4, 2011


Bono made a bit of a stir in late January with an Op Ed in Le Monde, a French newspaper. As he wrote:
Africa is rich in natural resources yet it is rarely Africans (save some corrupt officials) who get rich off their extraction. Meanwhile the missing cash risks fueling conflict across the continent. Transparency could change that. It could re-route revenues to kickstart economies and invest in jobs, health and education.

The United States—prodded by activists like the ONE Campaign and visionaries like George Soros—recently passed historic legislation requiring energy companies to "publish what they pay" to officials. This is big. Could be even bigger than debt cancellation, in terms of the money it frees up for Africa's fight against poverty. It doesn't cost the U.S. a single dollar, and it wouldn't cost France or Europe a single Euro to enact the same law and make it binding.
So, apparently Bono thinks that, through enough rent-seeking, he can find a way to cure poverty by giving more money to Africans.

How about giving them jobs, Bono?

Amidst hist chastising, Bono fails to consider what his own practices with his clothing company, Edun, conveys about his faith in the region. As Magatte Wade, Senegal native and serial entrepreneur, wrote in her HuffPo blog:

Edun [Bono's company] "celebrates" Africans by moving the supply chain to China.

Edun's high profile failure to produce goods in Africa is devastating to the brand of Africa. Our continent already has the worst brand of any region on earth. In a world in which almost no one believes that Africans are capable enough to create successful companies, Edun's failure will quietly confirm those bigotries.

As an African entrepreneur, when I meet with potential investors, the vast majority of them are afraid of investing in an African business because they envision war, disease, and lazy Africans who can't produce quality goods. But most of the stereotypes that people have of Africa - war, coups, heat, tropical diseases, etc. - are not true of my home country of Senegal. Although most people believe that Africans are lazy (whether or not they'll admit it) Senegal is known for its entrepreneurial diaspora (ask a black entrepreneur on the streets of Manhattan, Paris, or Milan where they are from and odds are they will be Senegalese). But that doesn't mean that it is easy to create a supply chain even in Senegal.

.... Most prospective investors in any African enterprise, hearing the Edun story, will think "Well if Bono couldn't do it with $20 million and the best contacts in the world, clearly it is not possible to manufacture in Africa. If Bono can't make it happen, who can?"

Hewson says of her husband that "he is unencumbered by practicalities." Thanks Bono, but no thanks. Unlike you, I am "encumbered by practicalities." You've just made my life as an African entrepreneur much, much more difficult.

Magatte Wade actually has improved life for women in her home country. One day, I hope Bono stops trying to appropriate my tax dollars and actually does the same.
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  1. "." Thanks Bono, but no thanks. Unlike you, I am "encumbered by practicalities." You've just made my life as an African entrepreneur much, much more difficult. "

    Poor Magatte Wade. She hasn't been around Western Liberals long enough to understand how Liberal compassion works. Results are not what they aim for. It's the intentions that count. By that definition, Bono was wildly successful. For Bono.

  2. I don't have time for Bono or any of these other celebrities ... but I'll give credit to Bono and Geldof for admitting that Bush did more for Africa than any other president. Yeah, you heard me Kanye!

  3. @ Van Halen, haha - good one.
    @LukeHandCool, very true!

  4. "EDUN" Isn't that "nude" spelled backwards? Oh, there must be a snappy acronym I am not nuanced enough to untuit. I like my faith, house, clothes and vehicles. If Bono wants to wear a grass skirt in a mud hut he is welcome to. Please first try your own medicine, Progressives, before experimenting on me.

  5. Dambisa Moyo, the author of "Dead Aid", raises some interesting points about some of Bono's effects in Africa.

    It looks like he learned something from her in looking for transparency, however, he he shows he's not listening well enough, perhaps because he cannot comprehend that her primary concerns are with intergovermental aid models, not humanitarian aid. What she's talking about is transparency in their bond ratings, not foreign governments meddling into their individual private business transactions like a parent's overzealous monitoring of a wayward child. It's extremely condescending and something like the 'progressives' treat the poor in our own countrly. President Sarkozy should have told Bono to bugger off and keep his focus on humanitarian aid - something that does do some good.

    A few excerpts of Moyo's interview with Fast Company below:


    Moyo: ... To focus on the celebrities ... Who cares? Besides, they perpetuate a negative view of Africa. All that comes out from them is what I call it the Four Horsemen of Africa's Apocalypse: war, disease, corruption, poverty. They never say, "Wow, guys, let's try and change people's image." They focus very much on the negative. They've become the face of Africa, and that's an artifact of the aid model. Where are the African governments? They should be at the forefront, articulating a view for this continent. But they just can't be bothered to say anything. I think they would care if they needed to, but they're sitting on aid. They basically can't be bothered to articulate a view. So anyone can jump in and say, "I'm speaking on behalf of Africa and Africans," which is essentially what these celebrities have done.

    FC: What countries are the worst offenders?
    Moyo: Across the continent, most countries have at least 70% dependency on aid. It's easier for me to strip out the good ones. South Africa and Botswana--those two are on one scale. Ghana. Rwanda--President Kagame has been on record saying that aid is not the solution. Barring those guys, everyone else is guilty on some level of pursuing a lax model. For instance, I get irritated when I hear of countries pulling their bond ratings. Zambia is one. Yes, we know the system of bond ratings is not perfect, but it's a good thing to be transparently measured.

    FC: Why would they pull the ratings?
    Moyo: Many African countries have a lazy muscle. Why go to the trouble of getting a bond rating when I can just go to the World Bank? Or go to the G20? Or actually, have Bono go to the G20 and ask for you. I don't even have to leave my country. That's a cynical view, but it's hard for me to interpret it any other way.

  6. Bono always did strike me as a poser.

    "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

  7. This has to take the cake for the most misinformed post I've ever seen here. You think he want to shine a light on rent-seeking corporations in Africa in order to PROMOTE the practice? He explicitly states it doesn't cost us anything (as wrong as that may be considering laws require enforcement) but then you rip him for trying to "appropriate my tax dollars"?

    Bono actually HAS helped Africans and has specifically pointed out how international aid is appropriated by and and supports corrupt autocratic regimes in Africa AND had the balls to publically recognize W as doing the same in the do-gooder celebritard paper of record (Rolling Stone) back when W was absolute Kryptonite to do-gooder celebritards.

    A little credit where due, please.

    There are other better targets of opportunity out there, but it's even worse when you get his point exactly backwards.

  8. Admit it Mr. Jacobson, you don't know what you're talking about. You just saw an item about Bono and decided to make a cheap attack on him.

    Here, read this again:

    "It doesn't cost the U.S. a single dollar, and it wouldn't cost France or Europe a single Euro to enact the same law and make it binding."

    What exactly is outrageous about this proposal? Do you have a problem with fighting corruption in third world counties? I guess you would prefer that crooked dictators continue to squander their countries' natural wealth?

    I mean really, be reasonable here.

  9. Doctor Bono, heal thyself.

    Bono's "One" fund; the charity fund that Obama target voters bought into and a total of 1% of the money actually went to charity.

    Who could know better about screwing people out of money than Bono?