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Rock Star, US Treasury Secretary in Africa - 2002-05-21


Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is in Ghana at the beginning of a four-nation tour of Africa. Joining Mr. O'Neill on the tour is musician Bono, of the Irish rock band U2.

The Bush administration hopes the presence of Bono, who is known for his work to alleviate global poverty and stop the spread of HIV, will draw the attention of young people on this trip.

Secretary O'Neill brings with him a tough message: that donors will expect to see results from U.S. aid delivered to the continent.

Two months ago, President Bush announced the United States would boost aid by up to $5 billion to African nations that implement democratic and market reforms. Analysts have said that U.S. officials believe the four countries on Mr. O'Neill's itinerary Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Ethiopia have done well implementing reforms.

Mr. O'Neill hopes to return to Washington with an assessment of where the increased aid will be best employed. One of his goals is to get a first-hand look at how aid is currently being used.

On his first full day in Ghana, Secretary O'Neill met with President John Kufuor and members of Mr. Kufuor's cabinet.

The U.S. official earlier toured the facilities of a U.S.-based data processing company (ACSBPS) that employees 800 Ghanaians in the capital, Accra. He also met with members of the American business community

Wednesday, the treasury secretary is due to visit impoverished areas of Accra where American aid has funded development projects. The 11-day tour will also include visits to AIDS treatment centers.

The delegation will move on to South Africa on Thursday.

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