Apr 19 2010

Bono questions about himself, and capitalism in Africa

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 4:08 PM

Bono, the self-styled Africa activist, generally ignores the plight of African immigrants in his own country of Ireland (home an beleagured community of Nigerians, for instance). The habit of ignoring Africans generally carries over to his encounters in Africa too. But Africans are working much harder to be heard these days, really heard, and even Bono is starting to listen, at least judging from his recent op-ed column in The New York Times. What Bono is hearing is what everyone who talks seriously with elites in Africa’s major cities inevitably gets told: foreign aid is demeaning, the money distorts African society in dangerous ways and cripples the initiative even of talented Africans. What elite Africans would much rather receive is “foreign investment;” in short, the fuel for business. Bono even perceived a meeting with Mandela as a call to take capitalism in Africa seriously. a word, Bono is finally hearing a viewpoint that the “invisible Africans” he has no long championed are passionable about — and so many foreign do-gooders ignore. Bono ends with a confession that he believes that “the people of Africa are writing up some new rules for the game.” Actually, the rules and the game are old, but saviors of Africa from faraway places — men such as Bono — have chosen to dismiss them. Perhaps Bono is undergoing his very own capitalist conversion, coming to a belated realization that old-fashioned, crass commerce will do as much for ordinary Africans than all manner of charitable acts?

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