Geldof takes aim at corruption in Africa

Billions of dollars in aid will achieve “zero” in Africa unless governments on the continent are serious about fighting corruption and poverty, Irish rocker and humanitarian Bob Geldof said on Tuesday.

The 54-year-old political activist, who will be performing in Johannesburg and Cape Town this week, said he saw “many, many optimistic signs and just as many crap signs” that African governments were cleaning up their act.

“The rich world can pour endless billions into the continent of Africa but none of this will work unless African governments are serious,” Geldof told a news conference in Johannesburg.

“Corruption is a byproduct of poverty. We have corruption in France, Germany and Ireland. ...
We are rich enough so that it doesn’t kill us. In sub-Saharan Africa, it kills people. And it must stop,” he said.

Nominated five times for a Nobel peace prize, Geldof singled out Benin, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa as countries that have earned “plus points” for their good governments.

A member of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa, Geldof singled out as progress the Group of Eight’s decision to cancel the debt owed by some of the poorest countries and double assistance by 2010.

But he added: “None of this works, none, zero, unless the governments of Africa are equally serious about trying to pull their people out of poverty.”

The creator of Live 8, a series of concerts held worldwide last year that raised awareness about Africa’s plight, will be performing for the first time in South Africa.—Sapa-AFP

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