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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 17:45 GMT
Bono campaigns at debt relief summit
U2 singer Bono
Bono: Well known for speaking out over debt relief
U2 frontman Bono has taken part in a debate on foreign aid at New York's World Economic Forum, advocating debt relief to fight Aids and poverty.

The rock star was heard by an audience of business leaders and politicians, and shared centre stage with Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Major nations at the forum have already agreed to cancel $40bn (28bn) owed by developing countries, and the Gates family foundation has announced another $50m (35m) for Aids prevention in Africa.

Calling for greater health care funding, Bono said: "I really believe if we all gather forces on this we can make progress."

Appeal

He will travel on a fact-finding trip to Africa with the US secretary, Paul O'Neill in March.

Bono is well-known for campaigning against world debt for the world's poorest countries and for the improvement of trade relations between Africa and the rest of the world.

In 2000, he delivered a petition containing 21.2 million signatures to the UN Millennium Summit, asking them to cancel Third World debt, as part of the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign.

He also made a public appeal to the US Government and visited the head of the World Bank in Prague.

Debts

Jubilee 2000, a coalition of non-governmental organisations and religious groups, says huge sums of money are going back to wealthy countries instead of feeding and educating children in the world's poorest nations.

The money was originally borrowed in the 1970s and 1980s, often badly invested or squandered, and in many cases the loan repayments are far beyond the nations' abilities to repay.

Jubilee has been at the forefront of the campaign.

It has been highly influential, persuading the Group of Eight leading industrial countries to promise to write off $100bn (69bn) of debt at the Cologne summit in July 1999.

See also:

09 Jan 02 | Entertainment
Bono to attend debt relief summit
20 Jul 00 | debt
Q & A: Dropping the debt
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
U2 singer in trouble over outburst
10 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Bono grabs Berlin spotlight
08 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Bono petitions leaders over debt
22 Sep 00 | Entertainment
U2's Bono appeals to US
27 Sep 01 | Business
Mozambique wins further debt relief
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