Yesterday, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE, Bono, and founder of Live Aid and activist, Bob Geldof, guest-edited Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper for a special edition – The Africa Century. The edition includes news stories and op-eds from a wide range of contributors, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, maternal health advocate Christy Turlington Burns, and an interview with President Obama. Given the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Canada that will feature aid and development issues, Bono and Geldof wanted to explore whether the 21st century would be Africa’s century. MFAN Partner ONE posted several interviews with Bono and Geldof discussing the issue on their blog that are worth viewing. Below find excerpts from Bono’s interview with President Obama, in which the President discusses the Millennium Development Goals and implementation of the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. Read the full special edition here.
Bono: You’re going to be in Canada in June for the G8. It’s not straightforward to get eight people to agree on anything, let alone eight countries. What do you think you can achieve?
President Obama: At this year’s summit, we need to recommit ourselves to making serious and sustainable progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. We can, and should, celebrate the progress we’ve made, but we also need to be frank about where all of us – developed and developing countries alike – have fallen short.
Bono: These are tough economic times at home. What do you say to people who question whether the U.S. should be investing time and resources in helping people in other countries?
President Obama: I can sum it up very simply: Development is a strategic and moral imperative for the United States. For too long, we have tried to manage extreme poverty and respond to its attendant consequences around the world: epidemic disease; political instability; the collapse of states; cross-border flows of refugees; and the absence of hope and opportunity that come with humanitarian crises. Our collective challenge is to pro-actively shape the world we want to see in the future by seeking, very deliberately, to accelerate development. The return on this investment is potentially enormous: a broader base for global prosperity, diminished military risk, and a more just and equitable world
Bono: Could you elaborate on your often-described three pillars of U.S. national security strategy – defence, diplomacy, and development – and how they interact?
President Obama: What’s new for us is our intention to elevate development so that it stands alongside defence and diplomacy as an equal. Defence, diplomacy and development need to reinforce each other, but each also brings a unique perspective and set of capabilities to the table. Together, they make us stronger, smarter and more effective.
Do you think this could be Africa’s century? How do you respond to Obama’s rhetoric to “elevate development” in light of the leaked PSD draft? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.