Bono, O’Neill Differ on Africa Aid Ideas

As U2 frontman Bono and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill near the end of their 10-day trip through Africa, it is clear the two have different ideas about funding African aid.

Visiting a school in Uganda on Monday, O’Neill said individual donations from Western donors to African aid recipients would be more effective than boosting governmental aid, the Financial Times reports.

“We need to make this into individual people things, not some cosmic stuff about billions of dollars,” he said.

But Bono saw things differently, arguing it would take billions to help poor countries out of poverty.

“It is a big sum…but it is not cosmic for these kids to have a cup of porridge a day,” he said.

Bono also pointed out that governmental relief monies were being put to good use, citing the school as evidence. O’Neill, however, wasn’t so convinced. While he says he is open to the idea of monetary increases, he questions the proper use of existing donations.

“The amount of money that’s required to give everyone here clean water is maybe $25 million, [but] according to the local people, the World Bank gave them $300 million and still getting them clean water was not a high priority.”

The trip–which concludes Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–is for the purpose of fleshing out U.S. plans for its new $5-billion-a-year “millennium challenge account,” a fund dedicated to developing countries adopting approved policies.