U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock group U2, have arrived in South Africa Thursday. The two men are on the second leg of a four-nation African tour to find the most effective way to spend billions of dollars in aid funds. The two began their South African visit in the country's capital.
Soon after they arrived in South Africa, Secretary O'Neill and Bono went to Pretoria for a meeting with President Thabo Mbeki, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and central bank governor Tito Mboweni.
The South African officials briefed their visitors on the New Partnership for African Development, or NEPAD, the blueprint devised by President Mbeki and other African leaders to foster African development and address social issues, including HIV/AIDS, housing, and job creation.
Mr. Manuel and Mr. O'Neill also signed an accord in which the United States and South Africa agreed on methods to fight international money laundering.
During their visit, the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Irish rock singer will visit a multinational company Ford Motor that has an exemplary HIV/ AIDS program. They will also tour a housing project and a high school. Bono and Mr. O'Neill also plan to visit Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, where an HIV/AIDS project is funded by U.S. companies.
The O'Neill-Bono tour of Africa has sparked widespread interest, both on the African continent and in Western countries.
Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, has long been an outspoken advocate of Western aid to fight poverty in Africa and for debt forgiveness by donor countries. Mr. O'Neill has said development aid in Africa has not achieved its goals and favors aid programs that are linked to sound financial practices and anti-corruption programs in recipient countries.