February 25, 2005

Bono for President of the World Bank

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:39 pm

The Los Angeles Times has an editorial proposing Bono as the next President for the World Bank.

Bono, the U2 rock star, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he is a credible candidate. But we have a better idea on how best to recognize his effective lobbying on behalf of African development — Bono should be named the next president of the World Bank.

Don’t be fooled by the wraparound sunglasses and the excess hipness. Bono is deeply versed in the issues afflicting the least-developed nations of the world, as former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill learned when he traveled the continent with the musician.

O’Neill, an uber-wonk, came back singing Bono’s praises. Bono even brought ultra-conservative Sen. Jesse Helms to tears by relating poverty in Africa to passages in the Bible.

Bono led the Drop the Debt campaign in 2000, seeking to forgive billions in loans to the Third World, and in 2002 he co-founded Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa, a serious group that seeks to raise awareness of Africa’s problems and lobby governments to help solve them. It could hardly ask for a better spokesman than its founder, whose fame has helped open doors that other lobbyists spend decades trying to crack.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, [Bono] compared contemporary indifference to Africa’s plight with the indifference of some who saw Jews being herded away on trains during World War II. Surrounded by titans of industry at Davos, he also spoke of aid to Africa in terms of brand identity: Brand America is doing poorly around the world, he said, and spending more on poverty relief would help market the country and its products.

President Bush, who has a large say in who will get the job, should realize that Brand America and the branding of both the World Bank and development generally would benefit greatly if Bono gets the nod.

If you’re still skeptical, here’s Wallis tells about Bono speaking truth to power:

Bono spoke at the Africare dinner in Washington, to fifteen hundred of the capitol’s leaders and media. “Excuse me if I’m a little nervous,” Bono apologized, “but I’m not used to speaking to less than 20,000 people!” Then he spoke like a preacher.

“So you’ve been doing God’s work, but what’s God working on now? What’s God working on this year? Two and a half million Africans are going to die of AIDS. What’s God working on now? I meet the people who tell me it’s going to take an act of God to stop this plague. Well, I don’t believe that. I think God is waiting for us to act. In fact, I think that God is on His knees to us….waiting for us to turn around this supertanker of indifference…. waiting for us to recognize that distance can no longer decide who is our neighbor. We can’t choose our neighbors anymore. We can’t choose the benefits of globalization without some of the responsibilities, and we should remind ourselves that “love thy neighbor” is not advice: it is a command.”

Click here for more on Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (DATA), founded by Bono.


  1. posted recently on your blog over at the Anti-Manicheist, hope you can check it out…

    Comment by dlw — February 26, 2005 @ 7:52 pm

  2. What a great idea! Who knew The LA Times could be that creative in their thinking? I’m impressed.

    Comment by Chuck Currie — February 27, 2005 @ 7:54 pm

  3. I could handle Bono in that role…no one can doubt his compassion and heart for the poor.

    Comment by Dave — March 2, 2005 @ 2:44 am

  4. Unfortunately, I think the post is traditionally an American. At least Fiorina isn’t Wolfowitz! http://money.cnn.com/2005/03/01/news/international/worldbank_wolfowitz/

    Comment by Longshot — March 2, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

  5. Let’s Get Jesus Back
    There is increasing discussion among progressive and liberal writers and bloggers to take religion, specifically Christianity, back from the conservatives or Christian Right, as they’re often called. Bob, over at

    Trackback by faithCommons — March 21, 2005 @ 9:29 am

  6. I’ve been posting about the whole Wolfowitz matter over at the Anti-Manicheist.


    Comment by dlw — March 22, 2005 @ 4:23 pm

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