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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Africa: Can the world do more?
This is a second page of your comments on whether the world could do more for Africa.

Can the world do more for Africa? Should Britain urge other countries to write off debt? Should Africa have more say in institutions like the World Bank?

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Writing off debts does not solve Africa's problem rather it enhances the continent's retrogression. Surprisingly, many Africans outside the continent are doing well and growing both intellectually and economically. Great nations are measured by their advances; imagine a giant of Africa ironically being amongst the 22 most poorest nations in the world.

Obviously aid or no aid, Africa can survive and progress if we wish to become sincere and our leaders resist from enriching themselves unjustly as applicable to those countries they are begging aid from, after all modern civilization started from Africa. Ours have become a case of the former master begging the apprentice for skills and jobs. What a pity!
Amayo Monday Bello, Warri, Nigeria

If the government would provide the citizens of Africa with more information about Aids and other STDs, then a lot of the citizens would have correct information and not gamble on what they've heard. Also, Africa needs to start realizing the level of poverty in its country and try to set up programs to help the citizens lead healthier and better lives. For example, testing new foods that would survive in the dry soil of the Sahara could be a starter. I think if Africa starts realizing the needs of the people, it will be easier for them to do something about it!
Heather, Wisconsin, USA

The wrong minded approach is to ask if the world can do more for Africa. The right question is to be asked of Africa as to what Africa is ready to do and willing to commit to, as to improving its role and relationships. Given that, then the next question could be what is it lacking so as to accomplish its goals, thus opening the way towards reasonable and meaningful negotiations.
John Holmes, Canada

The notion that Africa doesn't need Western donors to develop is misguided
Choongo Moonga, New York

Africa needs the world. The notion that Africa doesn't need Western donors to develop is misguided. Africa must open up to learn the development curve from the West; the most important tool for this is for the continent to act as justly and informed as the rest of the developed world - find common ground with the donors. Africans should stop taking criticism so personal, and begin to self-criticise.
Choongo Moonga, New York

Africa requires funding for education. Funding for what I right and wrong. Funding to allow communities to thrive and develop - all communities. What is does not need is money thrown at it and mis-managed. Billions have been given to the African economy only to be spent by corrupt ministers and heads of state. Yes, Africa is struggling but partly by its own doing and partly by the West's too.
Marcus, Nottingham

Africa without debts does not necessary mean Africa without poverty
J. Ikusika, London, UK
Africa without debts does not necessary mean Africa without poverty, conflicts, starvation and poor health. The corrupt, greedy and selfish leaders will always go back to the lenders.
J Ikusika, London, UK

My fellow Africans, it's all well to keep harping on the past of colonialism etc. but we need to realise that it's not going to get us anywhere, what's done is done. We need to look to the future and realise that it's in our hands. If our corrupt leaders are not creating better lives for us, or don't have the imagination to realise what our natural resources are worth with a bit of investment, it's our human right to do something about it. The only way to get out of this hole is to have a transparent system for any aid or finance from the Europeans.
Chris, Johannesburg, South Africa

Africa as a continent is suffering; I doubt we will see much change in our lifetime. The root of the problem is that African countries are born from a deformed foundation (European colonization); these states were only meant to function as a raw material bank.
Haile Balcha, London

The African states need to have the political will to weed out corruption, respect international law and justice, create a good environment for investment in order for the states to prosper, there is no point in blaming other people and no amount of aid and international assistance and natural resources would make a country prosper, it all depends on a fair, incorrupt and transparent government who is sincere in helping its own people.
David Chan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The poor are getting poorer whilst the corrupt rich are getting richer
Imran Khalid, Middlesex, UK

British in India and Pakistan still stand yet what they make today kills dozens everyday. What has independence achieved for all these countries, not one of them can stand proudly and say we did something for our people? The poor are getting poorer whilst the corrupt rich are getting richer. I guarantee anyone if the Keys of Africa are handed to the British again, I guarantee that we will have a totally different Africa in 10 years. It may sound biased but it's the truth. I know there will be some who say I have a slave mentality, to them I ask if I have such a mentality then why is it that all of sub continent and Africa wants to come to Europe?
Imran Khalid, Middlesex, UK

There are those that will always say that the Developed World can do more and blame former colonial powers for the state of Africa today. The bottom line however is that at some stage Africa has to stand on it's own feet. Until the African States address crippling endemic corruption and tribal violence and genocide, Africa will always be in trouble no matter how much Aid is thrown at it.
Andy D, Oxford, UK

I hope this will not be another exercise of "Thinking Globally and Acting Locally". For all practical reasons we should both think and act globally for a better and safe world. Africa is litmus to the commitment of the countries in the North.
Getachew Assefa, Stockholm, Sweden (ex Ethiopia)

Many of Africa's woes are due to tribalism, corruption and continual willingness to blame someone else rather that look at ourselves in the cold light of day. Africa needs to stand up, be accountable for its own situation and have a progressive proactive mind to improve itself. Zimbabwe, Darfur, etc are all self inflicted situations, and the silence of African leaders on these issues screams across the valleys of Africa.
Mark (ex South Africa)

All we want is for the West to return all that was stolen from us by our past and present corrupt leaders
Patrick Okene, London

I cannot understand the rationale behind holding conferences like these. On one hand Blair will make passionate and heart wrenching speeches about how much he wants to help Africa, and on the other hand he will stand by as corrupt African leaders continue to transfer looted funds into British banks. It is reported that about £1 billion that Abacha looted in Nigeria ended up or passed through British banks. In his seven years in office what has Blair done to stop such looting? It is our responsibility as Africans to put pressure on Western governments to stop them aiding corrupt African leaders in looting our treasuries. We don't want charity, all we want is for the West to return all that was stolen from us by our past and present corrupt leaders.
Patrick Okene, London

Africa is neglected by the UN. The West through colonialism has robbed Africa of natural resources. Today the West and their nationals enjoy our fruits which were acquired through poll tax, forced labour and human vices. The IMF and the World Bank have become obstacles to development in Africa. Africa needs a say in the IMF and World Bank. A permanent seat in the UN is a long awaited position in a world full of economic and political oppression.
Yussuf Dayib, Nairobi, Kenya

Africa and its leaders need to make an about turn and wake up from economic slumber. As this beggared continent keeps on looking at the affluent West for aid the question in mind is not about more help but about the continent being made to properly utilise its vast haul of riches that have fallen onto the hands of a greedy few. What Africa needs is not more assistance but the right leaders with the right vision to steer it into economic prosperity. Leaders such as Kenya's current president are certainly the wrong brand of leaders for the continent.
Haji Sabul Bulle, Netherlands

African countries seem to be able to find money to buy arms to kill each other but no money to feed themselves
Davie Rough, Spain

I've just been watching a report on breakfast news about Blair's commission to Africa and it quoted that Africa is poorer now than 25 years ago so I ask myself where has all the money that has been pumped into the continent gone? African countries seem to be able to find money to buy arms to kill each other but no money to feed themselves.
Davie Rough, Spain

I'm fed up with hearing apologies and excuses for Africa, ranging from slavery to colonialism to exploitation. Take a long hard look at Africa and you'll see that swathes of it are a mess because of Africans themselves. If Africans really want to avoid all the liberal hectoring and preaching that the West does so well, then I say to you - clear out the corruption yourselves (perhaps start with that vicious, destructive windbag Mugabe) and get on with making a continent worth living on. That way you'll get my respect and perhaps even some of my money (voluntarily rather than via taxes that are spent for me). If not, then you can continue to lie in the bed that you make.
Tom, Oxford

How can Europe and North America talk about Africa's problems, when they created the African problems? Isn't it like asking the Aussies and the Brits to fix the Australian Aborigine's problems?
Raghe Sudi, Melbourne, Australia

I think instead of asking "Can the word do more?" we should think about what has to be done?
Valentin Rimdjonok, Quebec

Bono should be talking to the idiots that run that continent and the idiots that vote for them. I'm tired of Bono picking my pocket for them. Is it right to impose Western standards of living and decency and governance on a foreign people? Africans have had as much opportunity to make a decent society for themselves as any other. Let them choose and make their own fate as we have and do our own. I am through with being Africa's crutch and all others too.
Tom Penn, Knoxville, USA

What we need now is farmer empowerment
Justus, Kenya/Japan

We don't need financial aid in Africa, it has failed us completely, what we need now is farmer empowerment. We have to appreciate the fact that sizeable percentage of Africans are farmers hence we should address our problems from this viewpoint. The World Bank and the IMF should note that, when they give us aids or loans in cash, they are empowering the Africa's Big Men to rob the peasant farmers more. The situation of farmers in Africa after independence has been going from bad to worse because a few rich, politically correct individuals who are diverting the money for their own selfish gains and leave wider majority of peasant farmers to struggle with the burden of repayment.

The minute, the West will accept to buy African produce without imposing stringent rules, will be a time in history when a plight of a poor African, back there in the village will be said to have been addressed. As adage once said that to build a house, you have to first lay the foundation. Well, African foundation lies in addressing the needs of the farmer. We don't need these money, what we want them to do is to buy from us not to sell to us.
Justus, Kenya/Japan

Africa is and has been the bread basket of the world , it has provided food clothing and shelter for the entire Western civilization, let's not be hypocrites, it's time for all these colonial powers who robbed Africa to put back some of what has been stolen in order for the African continent and the rest of the world to survive, it is so easy for everyone to blame corrupted African leaders, but the problems that faces Africa at present is the long term effects of the robbing and raping of Africa by the West.
Derrick Defoe, Caribbean /West Indies

"Wise man is better than silver and gold..." Robert Nesta Marley. Build them schools and let them make their own progress. They'll find the way, like we all did!
Panagiotis Dimitrakopoulos, Thessaloniki, Greece

West created the conditions so Africa reaches the bottom. So they can lend them even more money under the terms they want¿ the West developed this policy. They won't stop until everybody owes Uncle Sam. That's the bitter truth.
Takis, Thessaloniki, Greece

African problems need African solutions, and I don't mean solutions like Rwanda or Sudan, until then there is nothing that can be done by anyone else. The debts may be hard but cancelling them would only give more money to the corrupt rulers of the countries, not make a difference to the ordinary people. Sort out the government and the rest will follow.
Chris, UK

It is the financing and arming of these rebel groups in return for plundering the wealth of their neighbour that is crippling Africa
Joseph Wilkinson, Whitehaven

The curse of Africa is to be resource rich. Africa will only begin to realise its full potential when African leaders work together rather than sponsoring rebel groups in their neighbour's countries. It is the financing and arming of these rebel groups in return for plundering the wealth of their neighbour that is crippling Africa more than anything. The West can help by giving favourable trading terms to countries with stable governments that do not interfere in the sovereign affair of their neighbours. Unfortunately our war in Iraq has sent the wrong message to African leaders. If the civil wars that blight Africa can be resolved, Africa as a united continent can then work together to get more favourable trade terms from the West. The eradication of civil war will also attract more foreign investment.
Joseph Wilkinson, Whitehaven, UK

Debt is leverage which some narrow minded people do not want to give up. But to imagine that cancelling debt provides a fulcrum for development (sic Bono) is naive.
Peter, Nairobi, Kenya

Africa needs a federal government in charge of defence, health, trade, education and taxation. Individual states will then have less ability to fight amongst each other and resources can be shared. This has provided stability, and security on other continents.
Darren, Australia

Writing off debts for Africa will not help anyone. Find the root of the poverty first. Africa is a very rich continent but with very poor people. We do not want your aid we ask you to buy our products, we want you to invest in our land and sell the end of products from Africa. Stop buying low material goods from us encourage us to produce ready to sell products then you will have helped us. Instead of taking cotton, give us orders of garments you like and the quality then we will make for you. We need education, jobs and techniques not money.
Albina Edwards, Tanzanian in Bangladesh

To Albina Edwards: May God bless you a hundred times wherever you are. You have said it all. Africans are been frustrated in the west after educating them. You ask them to go back to Africa, to do what? Where there are no companies and Industries? You don't give them good jobs in the west. You want them to go back to organize the raw materials for you at the cheapest price and you make the products for them at higher price. Every time the west talk of debt relieves, we don't need your debt whatever. Help us to industrialize our continent because we have more than enough to keep us wealthy like you. That is the only way you can assist us. If you do this, you don't have to worry about our debts because we will pay you back.
Opara Victor, Nigerian student in Estonia

Africa keeps being refused seats on international organizations because the rest of the world does not believe they are capable of responsible decision making. If Africa wants respect its leaders are going to have to start acting responsibly and turn their countries around. I'd be embarrassed if I ran a country and the only way I could see to get respect for my country was through whining and guilt trips.
Joy, USA

A new deal for Africa is required. The debts need to be written off but it must be made certain that these won't be run up again. I propose that all (or most) debt is wiped for those nations that agree to abide by certain financial, democratic and anti-corruption rules. Those that implement reforms are rewarded with more aid and access to Western markets for their goods. Those that take the money and embezzle it are blacklisted from any future aid or credit until their regime changes.
Craig, Feltham, UK

What Africa needs is to be allowed the chance to develop but also has to show its ability to sustain itself and that is very difficult with so many corrupt governments¿.
Paaristha Oomadath, Amsterdam

They need to do things for themselves too - no baby sitting
Edidiong Ekpo, San Jose, USA

Do not write off the debt, but show them other countries that have flourished. They need to develop their human resources, infrastructure. they need to separate religion in church from state, politicians and good governance. They need education, knowledge and the latest trends. They need to do things for themselves too - no baby sitting.
Edidiong Ekpo, San Jose, USA

We have gone too far. First of all if these countries do not need to pay back the loans then we are sending out the wrong message. It's simple if you get a loan you pay it back. Let's make a comparison - in the late fifties South Korea was almost completely destroyed by the war. Africa at the end of the colonisation had infrastructure and economy far better then the one South Korea had. Four decades later Africa is still Third world while South Korea is First world.
Filip Michielsen, Antwerp, Belgium

To Filip Michielsen, Antwerp, Belgium: I agree with you. Africa seems to be failing to govern itself properly, and some regions (e.g. Zimbabwe) are particularly corrupt. It is not ethical to provide concessions and reward such behaviour.
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK

When will Africans finally take control of their own destiny? Corruption, governmental mismanagement, overpopulation, superstition, dismal human rights, civil wars, Aids, deforestation, native animal extinction¿ they are all African made problems. I am fed up with African whiners.
K Niala, Bujumbura, Burundi

The environmentalists and the African government have taken measures to preserve the flora and fauna of the ecosystem in Africa. When so much could be done to save species, why is that thy same cannot be done to help people who are hit by famine and war?
Khlutzy, Greenland

Nothing can stop Africa from its inevitable renaissance, it has something to prove to the world
Fesseha, Ethiopia/US

Arggghhh is the voice of frustration! We Africans would benefit by:
1. Cancellations of debt, or better yet, ignore those vicious debts that shackle our necks to the heavy Western Ball and Chain, something recently recommended by several Heads of State, including some in the West;
2. By turning into ourselves and resolving conflicts and upholding human and civil rights, solving African problems with African solutions
3. By harnessing all of our resources for the benefit of all Africans.
Oh our problems are easy to remedy, if only we could forcefully take hold of our own destiny by closing our eyes and ears to Western hegemony. Nothing can stop Africa from its inevitable renaissance, it has something to prove to the World.
Fesseha, Ethiopia/US

The West has poured billions and billions of dollars into Africa over the years. Even if we accept that Western institutions and governments misdirected billions of that aid, it still means that billions were properly targeted - and yet most of Africa is now poorer than in colonial times. The incompetence and criminality of African leaders mean that whatever we give will produce no tangible results. Why bother? Let Africa sort out its own problems. We can't.
David, Leeds, UK

As an Ethiopian, it is useless for Ethiopia. Because of the policy the government is following. The government is refusing to liberalize business sectors. The government is refusing to privatize telecommunication, power stations and big business sectors owned by governments and liberalize land. With this policy, I don't expect Ethiopia will benefit. Take for example; if you go to Kenya with money, you can buy a house or a farm and start investing. Even to bring things close, Nigeria is half the size of Ethiopia and the population of Nigeria is double of Ethiopia's, but if you go to Nigeria today, you can buy a house, a land etc...

The government of Ethiopia is saying that the land belongs to the government, for what? Who can invest the government or investors? And how can investors invest when the government is not liberalizing major business sectors like this? I would love to see Mr Blair and other African leaders and also the IMF, World Bank, and ADB etc put pressure on Ethiopia's government to liberalize business sectors.
C Kalit, Addis Ababa

Africa is going backward while the world is going forward
Atem Mator, Sudanese in USA

Africa is going backward while the world is going forward, and I think current African leaders are all communist regardless of what their claims are. I think African problems cannot be solved by Western donors. African leaders are the ones that could solve Africa's problems, but instead of taking responsibility, they choose to be the cause of African problems. It's time for Africa to have true new leaders who would say it's enough for Western donors, and for Africa current leaders it's time to go. I think Africa first needs to have an African civil war. Then new leaders can emerge with a new attitude and clean up all the mess, which the current leaders have made. It would be good to form the United Countries of Africa.
Atem Mator, Sudanese in USA

It's a well known fact that governments could wipe the national debt in Africa with a stroke of a pen, so why don't we just do it instead of talking and talking about it.
Mark Stanley, Aylesbury, England, UK

I have seen the dictatorial corruption of one leader destroy generations of nation building and infrastructure in just four years. I would encourage debt relief, aid and assistance in any form to help the suffering people but only when the governments in charge are held to standards of accountability and democracy that nurture the seeds Western money can plant in African soil. Until Africa grows up and gets over using post colonial exploitation as an excuse for the abuse of its own people nothing will change.
Gavin, formerly from Zimbabwe

I don't think that half the people in America are educated about the World Bank or the IMF and how these banks help Western multinationals mostly American, to move into Third world country markets and their resources. This results in the Third world countries paying for the loans that Western governments, World Bank and the IMF provide. Bono is in my opinion a better politician than all world leaders combined.
Muad MZ, Maldives

Africa: Should the world do more? This continent has never seen, in all recorded history, a stable country despite untold millions in aid and support pouring in. Teach a man to fish. If there is any hope of stability it's through education financed from ecotourism. Let's take advantage of the innate assets.
David Lehman, Atlanta, US

US$200 billion was spent on the Iraq war, and more is needed we are told. $200bn is enough to buy back all the debt owed by African nations. It's a question of where our priorities lie, but do we really think deeply about the consequences of Western life? Put simply, the world would just not function if Africans were as rich as us. I therefore condemn any debate on African poverty to be a fraud, they all lack sincerity and real devotion. Otherwise, at least one of the hundred debates we've had in the last ten years would've yielded results.
Nadim J, Essex, UK

Africa would enjoy a great deal more respect if they repatriated the money looted by their own Big Men, and had a transparent system for revealing where all their oil revenues disappear. These are mendicants who arrive in their own jets while the lenders travel commercial.
Ric Ball, Cape Town, South Africa

I really appreciate the humanity and concerns of people like Bono, Geldof and Tony Blair. But the thing is this: Africa's problems cannot be solved through aid, given the clever (insincere) way it has been tied to greedy (immoral) interests of capitalists. What Africa should rather do is de-link itself from the so-called global economy which is characterised by an unfair socio-economic relationship. This is the only hope that Africa should pursue if it wants to put matters in to its grips and avoid further misery.
Mulugeta, Addis Ababa

Africans in the Diaspora are finally realizing the grass is not greener on the other side
B Estephaons, Ethiopia

The western world has been looting Africa and Africans for the past 400 years and they still continue to loot. Let's not forget it's only been less than 15 years since Africa became completely free of colonization from the west. Rome was not built overnight. If the western world chooses to redeem itself by helping Africa then good for them. Africans in the Diaspora are finally realizing the grass is not greener on the other side. Only Africans can help Africans.
B Estephaons, Ethiopia

There is no doubt that Bono is the star in the African cause, and he'll remain to be the star for generations to come, just because of his dedication to be the only voice to address the issue of Africa that most western politician ignore.
Yonas Buraka, Seattle, WA, USA

Bono expresses a view that is shared by millions all over the globe. Notable among them is global 2000. Indeed, the world must do more for Africa. You cannot give aid with one hand and depress the African economies with the other. However Africa must learn to put her house in order. Stop the senseless conflicts, promote trade among themselves, diversify export to cover areas where they have not only comparative advantage but competitive advantage.
James Y Dzansi, Sweden

Perhaps the question should be: Africa, can Africa do more?
Darryn, Chicago, USA

The west can surely do more for Africa. However, it is easier to ignore Africa.
Daniel Tshimuanga, Kinshasa, Congo

The west doesn't care about an African cry for help. Africa continues to be suppressed and hamstrung by the west on many fronts especially trade! African problems are wide and diverse and Tony's visit is a drop of an ink in an ocean!
Sirang, Gabarone, Botswana

We all know that the root course of our problem is our leaders and political elite (as the imbeciles like to think they are!) In this age of so called democracy did the west force us to elect them or to stand idly by while they continue to cheat us at the ballot boxes or assume power by force? Does the west make us call the spouses of the political leaders "his or her Excellency" when they have not in any way deserved such a fawning tag?! Come on Africa, enough excuses.

How has a continent with such a magnificent and proud history (Benin Empire, Sokoto empire, the Ashantis) fallen so far? From the cradle of civilisation and learning to the basket case of the world and the endless object of western pity. Africans need a new mentality whereby we accept that we are the masters of our own destiny and that true power rests with us the people and not the politicians. We need to build a society where we stop calling our politicians "Your Excellency" and address them as equals and servants of the public.
Bayo, Lagos

What Africa needs more than anything else is to earn respect from the West.
DK Smith, Kitwe, Zambia

I am pained that our leaders here are simply not politicians but merely self-centred gangsters and looters
Charles, Warri, Nigeria

I personally think it is most shameful and amazing for African nations at this time of globalizing world, to still rely on their former colonial masters and other western countries for any form of assistance come what may. We have all the needed resources to grow economically and otherwise. But until the leadership sector is properly scrutinized and overhauled, there could be major problems in the future. Speaking further, it is so inhumane to still see a lot of western nations trying so hard to make sure African countries remain perpetually on the insolvent list. The truth is that, over 65% of these so-called western nations calling for debt clemency are not sincere. I am pained that our leaders here are simply not politicians but merely self-centred gangsters and looters.
Charles, Warri, Nigeria

I think its wonderful what Bono is doing for our country, But unfortunately, realistically speaking, it will take 1,000 men with his helpful determination to improve the country's situation, and many more generations yet to come before there will be any significant changes... sad, but true!
Gene, Johannesburg, South Africa

Africa is facing problems that no other country is facing right now, apart from maybe Afghanistan. Westerners often give aid and expect overnight results. The truth is that with aid Africa will take decades to get back on its feet. Without western aid, it would probably take centuries. Remember, Africa needs to be built from the ground up in many areas. Don't expect overnight results, even with Western Aid, which I'm sure has made a difference.
Mark, Brisbane, Australia

Africa is potentially one of the richest continents in the world (if not the richest). The poverty is often self-inflicted and self-maintained (look at Zimbabwe). I agree that agricultural policies should be fair, but corruption, violence and intimidation flourishes. Aid is just making Africa increasingly dependent.
Dirk de Klerk, Pretoria/London

When they take charge of any resource they think exclusively for themselves and their tribes
Anderson Mwaloma, Kenya

Any help from external sources is most welcome even though often it does not reach the most disadvantaged persons. It's such a pity for Africa to continue begging for aid while blaming the former colonial masters who left the continent forty years ago. The plain truth is that Africans have not developed a sense of nationalism nor patriotism which is why when they take charge of any resource they think exclusively for themselves and their tribes. Yes Africa was plundered but so was most of Asia and Latin America but these Regions have made impressive economic developments in the past twenty years. Africa has the potential to surpass even South Korea but only if we embrace genuine nationalism, stop favouritism and corruption otherwise economic progress will remain a dream. In the meantime we will have to pray for more handouts under whatever conditions.
Anderson Mwaloma, Nairobi, Kenya

It is utterly myopic for anyone to think; let alone believe that Bono's crusade for the world's poorest is just a way of selling more records. He doesn't have to do what he's doing - he's got enough for himself already. Did you see him with those impoverished kids in South Africa? That wasn't pity that was love! Anyway that poor child in Darfur, can't even afford a meal, let alone a U2 CD... Give the man his due credit.
Peter Okwoche, Nigerian in London, England

A big step would be to provide aid without conditions attached to it like when George Bush gives money to help sexual health clinics in Africa on the conditions that they promote abstinence and discourage abortion. This sickens me in countries where up to a third of the population has Aids. I also think that people like the Pope should change their stance on condom use. Cheaper drugs for medical treatment and cancelling Third world debt would make a major contribution to helping Africa amongst other countries.
Cat, Cambridge, UK

I've lived in Africa for more than two years... more than enough time to see the rampant government waste
Raymond Thibodeaux, Nairobi
Bono's heart is in the right place, but something must be said about the woeful mismanagement of cash among Africa's leaders. True, much of Africa's debt stems from wildcat loans from Western countries anxious to buy the allegiance of African presidents, especially during the Cold War, of which the former Zaire's Mobutu is a prime example. Still, at what point do Africans themselves take up the responsibility and the hard work of building their own future, and stop looking toward the West as a giant cash machine?

I've lived in Africa for more than two years now, which is more than enough time to see the rampant government waste, corruption and arrogant disregard for the populace it supposedly is trying to help. The West should be saying: Show us good governance and we'll cancel a portion of your debt - the better the governance, the bigger portion of the debt to be cancelled. Now, as for Africa's permanent seat on the UN Security Council...
Raymond Thibodeaux, Nairobi, Kenya

Having recently returned from a trip to Tanzania I can comment first hand on the poverty I experienced. The most startling sight however was the almost complete lack of elderly people...we saw two elderly people in a period of over two weeks... The West needs to do more to prevent Aids and poverty making this situation worse. We all deserve dignity and a quality life.
Dave S, Cardiff, Wales

What Africa needs more than anything else from the West is respect
Kpdodo, Mauritius

What Africa needs more than anything else from the West is respect. Treat Africa with respect. Allow African goods to flow freely without artificial barriers such as banana shape/size/colour regulations, quotas on what can be exported to the West. Allow Africa to solve her own problems without imposing anything. Africa intervened in Sierra Leone and did a great job. Africa should intervene in Darfur without waiting for technicalities such as the definition of genocide.
Kpdodo, Mauritius

There's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem - Africa needs to move past agrarianism and the sale of commodities to catch up economically, but no-one wants to invest in Africa only to see their investment nationalised i.e. stolen, by corrupt, populist politicians. Bono's plea is a noble gesture, but I doubt very much it would do anything, except make overseas investors even more skittish about investing in Africa.
Olivia B, Hayward, California, USA (ex UK)

They do not have the Garvey and Nkrumah ideology about Africans being responsible for their own resources
SK Semackor, Ghana/USA

Almost all the current African leaders today are western and or European educated, thus, they do not have that black consciousness about their history. They are continuing from where colonialism stopped. They do not have the Garvey and Nkrumah ideology about Africans being responsible for their own resources; even my home country (Ghana) is selling our Black Star airways because of mismanagement. Africa's problem lays within herself and not necessarily any westerners or Europeans.

Personally, Bono is doing 90% more than our current leaders. The AU, IMF and the World Bank must stop helping our leaders kill and destroy Africa. These leaders take these loans and put it back in coded Swiss accounts and re-invest it in the donor countries. Let Africa use what we have been blessed with by God to develop ourselves, if the leaders cannot get these handouts, then they will go back to agriculture and better infrastructures to generate taxes to help generate more money. Black consciousness is a pride to all Africans in Diaspora, not personal wealth.
SK Semackor, USA/Ghana

The solution to all the problems in Africa is in Africa itself not anywhere else in the world. The more we allow foreigners to feed us day and night the longer we will continue to suffer and the speed of falling back behind the western world will increase by a dozen feet each year. So long as our leaders continue pocketing national wealth into their pockets, the poor and the voiceless will suffer and the economy will continue to go down the drain. It is time for concerned Africans to liberate Africa (second liberation) from the thugs that are exploiting African resources from East to West and from South to North. Let freedom reign!
Joseph Akuei, Sudan

Ask the mouth, it replies: Cake. The real question is can Africa itself do more? Take the government of Sudan. Or Zimbabwe. Or Kenya. Or Nigeria. Debt relief is fine (do it!); but Africa will remain a mess until its governments change.
Ricki R, Atlanta, USA

One would think that things should have gotten better after colonialism but the truth is that nothing has changed
Gameli Afagbegee, Ethiopia

I think it is absolutely ridiculous and appalling that most western countries have amassed an enormous amount of wealth by plundering the natural resources of African countries for more than a century yet still refuse to give back. One would think that things should have gotten better after colonialism but the truth is that nothing has changed. I would like to think that for all their so-called civilization Europeans and Americans would have a more appropriate attitude to countries less fortunate than themselves.

How can the world ever become a better place unless people put aside their personal agendas and begin to take a more active part in helping others? What people need to do is stop being ignorant and educate themselves by reading the news, helping out, anything.... and start living outside of their own world. The world is getting better, but compared to how much could be done... this is simply not enough.
Gameli Afagbegee, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Indeed, it is a crucial step for the West to be involved in Africa's crisis. It is amazing how the West exploits African resources and neglects the people. I have a great honour for His Excellency Tony Blair and others must learn something from him. God Bless.
Danny Negussie, Ethiopia/Wyoming, USA

The best the Western world, US and Europe can do to aid Africa is leave their resources alone. Every time one throws a glance at the war-torn African countries, a US or European interest is always involved...
AAA, Yaounde, Cameroon

"Kula na kulipa ndio mtindo wa kisasa". There are no free lunches anywhere in the world - not even for Africa. Smell the truth Mr Bono and wake up please.
Margaret S Maringa, Baltimore, USA

There is no doubt that the world can do more. Just look at the amount of conflicts ongoing at the moment, not to mention the atrocities in Sudan, and it is apparent the amount of problems Africa has. We, in the western world have to realise that nice liberal ideology is not enough and that hard action is needed. The UN needs to be bolstered, organisations like the IMF need to have a reducing influence and all in all we need to make life easier for the average African: any way we can. It's the least we can do.
Jason Robinson, Dublin, Ireland.

Blair will use the African tragedy to cleanse his tarnished moral authority at home
Liban, Ethiopia

The meeting will achieve some of the following: Blair will use the African tragedy to cleanse his tarnished moral authority at home. Unpopular African despots like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia will get a much needed photo-opportunity to polish their image as statesmen. But sadly millions of poor Africans will not even hear about the gathering because most don't have access to a radio.
Liban, Ethiopia

Yes, they can do more for our poor African continent. I really appreciate what the rock singer, Bono, is trying to do for Africa. I've also seen his interview with Opera. I also liked the way he gave the reason in that interview. He said, "People are dying because of stupid reasons". In fact, for him and for the rest of the developed countries, yes, people are dying because of stupid reason i.e. Money. But for the African people, money is a big deal. It can heal the African people from everything including HIV/Aids. Writing off debt may be one solution but it doesn't wrap the whole African problem. However the West may wish to help Africa it is better for them to do it sooner than later, leaving their personal benefits aside.
Ibrahim, Orit, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The only way the western world can help the Africans is by re-colonising them
John, France

Probably. But why bother? The money is siphoned off by despotic rulers and so pays for intertribal ethnic cleansing, nepotism and corruption. No. The only way the western world can help the Africans is by re-colonising them. Not exactly an option is it? But it is obvious they are incapable of sorting out their own problems and throwing money and other forms of aid at them is a waste of effort and resources.
John, France

As an African, the following words from Bono's speech are loaded with meaning for me: "You see, deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out." Is an African really, deep down in the mind of some white men, four fifths of a human being, as was once the legal position in parts of the USA? Back in the days when African-Americans did not have the vote? Evolution is a slow process, after all. Need anyone say more?
Robert Alu, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The world can do more but will not. I believe the West keeps Africa poor to avoid the competition. Britain's recent Third world debt moves are not benevolent, they are merely an annexation of the debtors.
Sean, Brussels, Belgium

To Sean, Brussels: Thank you for reaffirming my belief that no matter what we do, it will be wrong. Therefore we should do whatever is in our best interests. Don't cancel the debt.
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK

Until we stop blaming other people for misery and taking responsibility for ourselves, we are doomed
Majaobe, Lesotho

Looking back at history, I now realise that Europeans are amongst the most giving people on Earth. Yes, they colonized us. But the negative effects cannot be considered without looking at the positive ones too, education being the most important. Until we stop blaming other people for misery and taking responsibility for ourselves, we are doomed. Right now the world is so concerned about Aids in Africa. But we just keep getting infected even though we know how to prevent it. It's as if we have a subconscious extinction wish. No kindness that Caucasians can show us can free us from the consequences of our own weaknesses. Only we can.
Majaobe, Lesotho

It is easy to envisage a fall in capitalism since the system will not thrive in an environment of global socio-political instabilities created by resultant wars. The EU's formulation and evolution into a world superpower by 2015 is within the precincts of reality. As for the existence of developing states within this new economic matrix, it is too early to dictate such.
Saboto S Caesar, Diamonds Village, St Vincent and the Grenadines

The key to African salvation is in establishing democratic governments - governments that are accountable to their citizens. Clearly the United Nations is not up to the task and so reform is needed.
Kevin, SF, USA

What GB, US and other world countries should do to make Africa and this world a better place is to support and grant sovereignty to all the self determined groups and entities all over Africa. For instance, Nigeria is the second most corrupt nation in this world. There will be no justice to the common man if the Nigeria debt is cancelled, only the people that rig themselves into government offices will benefit.
Benneth Chidozie, Lagos, Nigeria

People empowerment through education is the best solution for Africa
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

I am amazed by how some Africans in this forum feel like Africa is beyond help, like they don't deserve any more. I believe that aid from the West should not stop, but be redirected in educating the people not just to enhance their skills and knowledge, but to expand their minds about the larger world in which they belong in. I think the best the West can do is to help strengthen the power of the people, and not let ethnic cleansing and cruel dictatorships continue. People empowerment through education is the best solution for Africa. And Africans the world over should realize that it cannot be achieved overnight. They should be steadfast in their commitment in their mother country.
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

Of course the developed world can do more. Writing off debt is popular but not the whole answer. Many countries are defaulting anyway so writing off these debts will not alter things too much. Blair's Commission is a start in the right direction. Instead of a lot of 'armchair' experts telling Africans and their sovereign governments what to do they are listening to the Africans themselves. When the developed countries understand that Africa's problems will ultimately be solved by African solutions and that their best way to help is by creating and building the capacity to do this then the sooner things will start to move forward.
Clive, USA/ Ex-Kenya

The West should provide Africa with an infrastructure of roads and rails to improve intra-African trade. Investment should also be made in refining Africa's raw materials like oil, coffee, and cocoa to provide jobs and allow Africans to buy finished products from other Africans. The economies of African countries cannot improve if they have to do the bulk of their trade with Europe and the US.
Richard Barr, Manassas, VA, USA

The problems of Africa are beyond western abilities. Only Africans can solve them when they choose to solve them. Even the African Union has failed to put in context the problems Africa faces. The west can only back at Africa like little dogs. They can pretend to be doing something. For example they could forgive the debt knowing full well that a new phase of new debt will start tomorrow because the cause of borrowing has not been removed.

They could denounce dictators, knowing full well that in two or so years they will be sharing breakfast with them in Europe. They could issue statement condemning the African brain drain but still recruit there because Europeans are not breeding enough to cover the skill shortage. They could preach about food shortages knowing they import food from countries with a chronic shortage. The list goes on. Lets just separate politics from morality from PR and from selling records.
Benson Magaba, Harare Zimbabwe

Europe is partly responsible for the poverty in Africa. African poverty has a background in colonialism, so Europe has a moral responsibility to help. Writing off debts will help but the real solution lies in restructuring the trade relations between the poor and the rich so that value-added products from the poor nations can easily access markets in the rich ones.
David Matende, Nairobi, Kenya

Bono certainly wears rose-tinted spectacles huh? Perhaps if he took some of the millions he's earned and threw them into a pot, his buddy Blair might also. And maybe one day we'll have honest politicians, world peace, and all have flying cars. If he's going to tell fairy-tales, at least they should be ORIGINAL fairy-tales and not those stolen from better men.
Ian, Brit in USA

Yes, we should urge writing off the debt, but the single most significant step may well be to make it impossible for stolen funds to be laundered in the developed world. Too much money is still flaunted there by people (often in African leadership) and their contacts who show amazing and often completely inexplicable wealth. Western companies should also be pressured further to take a stand of "zero tolerance" to corrupt payments. If these types of steps are not clearly in place, we will still need to write of more debts in future.
Rev Doye Agama, Wigan UK

Irish rock singers have a better grip on Africa's poverty than our politicians
David Hazel, Fareham, UK
It's interesting to see how Irish rock singers have a better grip on the moral and sociological aspects of Africa's poverty than our politicians do. First Bob Geldof, now Bono. I also liked the way he made it personal - "If they don't do it, I know which cars are theirs." Politicians are sometimes too insulated from the consequences of their decisions, so such a direct appeal is at least amusing to hear, if impractical to implement.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Of course the West can do more. But it seems all they are interested in doing is keeping the Third World in poverty. Developed nations created the Third World, so why would they do more to help, when they are in fact the reason these countries are starving?
Anonymous, Toronto, Canada

Words of wisdom. The war on terror has indeed sidelined other more pressing and devastating world events such as AIDS and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Prashanth Parameswaran, Malaysia

Write off all the debt they have and they would only run it right back up. They need to learn to help themselves and stop expecting the world to take care of them. Think about it. We're not talking about a country, we're talking about an entire continent made up of many, many countries. Seems to me they've gotten a little too complacent about just waiting around for aid from everyone. Minimal aid combined with various nations working collectively and working hard to change things would be more effective for them.
Krista, USA

To Krista, USA: The problem with Africa is that people ignore what has happened and is happening. Much of the debt was forced onto Third world countries - "We will give you $10 billion but you have to spend $8b of it on arms from us". Now with globalisation, multinationals come in, exploit locals, don't even pay subsistence wages and drive local businesses bankrupt. People conveniently forget that Europe and the US only are First world because of massively insular industries, closed markets and government help. Yet they force African countries to follow the flawed models of the IMF and World Bank.
Vish, UK

The "Global Economy" searches every corner of the world for the cheapest labour, yet never builds factories in Africa
Michael Smith, Germany
It is very strange how the "Global Economy" searches every corner of the world for the cheapest labour, yet never builds factories in Africa. This is because of the stability of the regimes and the very good chance that the capitalists will get their fingers burnt. Money will always take precedence to the lives of the poor of the Dark Continent.
Michael Smith, Monchengladbach, Germany

Of course the world can do more. More debt can be forgiven, more medicines produced and sold at minimal amounts, and more aid and support to various countries throughout Africa that are actually managing to deal with their problems. But, it's a shame that so few African states are actually dealing with their problems. Ghana and South Africa are exceptions to the rule, while Liberia, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and others simply reinforce old stereotypes.
Christopher Magee, Fairfax, VA USA

Perhaps the world has done too much already. As an African, I am sometimes baffled by the way my people think. It boggles the mind that we could find it so easy to kill each other, starve, die of AIDS and basically, ruin ourselves. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the solution lies within us and not from outside help. Perhaps we should've gone through a phase of isolation like that of Japan at one time. Perhaps we shouldn't have tried the western form of government, but instead retained our traditional forms and evolved from them. Perhaps, we should put other people first instead of ourselves. Historical injustice aside, I feel that Africans have had more than enough help and should help themselves. Period of transitions can be hard, but if we are still to be around in 200 years, we need to suffer through it. Thank you world, for being so tolerant.
Susan, Zimbabwe/USA

I'd love to hear Bono explain how we can peacefully persuade Mugabe to hold a fair election
Peter, Nottingham, UK
I'd love to hear Bono explain how we can peacefully persuade Mugabe to hold a fair election, peacefully stop Rwanda style genocide in central Africa, peacefully stop ethnic cleansing in Darfur & peacefully get the multiple rebel groups in the Ivory Coast & Liberia to stop slaughtering their own people. Until he can do that I wish he'd shut up and go back to writing songs...he used to be quite good at that.
Peter, Nottingham, UK

Bono is completely right when saying that Developed world could do more for poor countries...
Matola, Eusebio, Maputo, Mozambique

Sadly enough other worldly issues are always priority before those of Africa. I respect Bono for all that he is doing and even though we might not get the full amount of help that we need whatever we get is better than nothing at all. The pains of Africa cannot be hidden but somehow just somehow with all the media in this world they manage to ignore it.
Mutsawashe, Zimbabwean/USA


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