A Wig For A Pair of Shades

10 May 2002
Us Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is offering to swap a grey wig for a 'set of blue wraparound glasses' on his upcoming trip with Bono to Africa.

Speaking ahead of the trip with Bono later this month, O'Neill said that the pair intended to tour schools, hospital AIDS clinics and other development projects in Ghana, Uganda, South Africa and Ethiopia. He told reporters that the goal will be to promote the idea that development aid should produce results, not just pour money into the region.

"We need to make it work, and the two of us can go and we will attract attention so the world will see what it looks like and we can show them the awful part and we can show them the success stories and it will help to promote the policy changes that need to be made." he said.

Describing the U2 singer as "a world-famous person who cares a lot about improving living conditions all over the world", the contrast between the rock star and the politician would increase the chance that the world would take notice of Africa and its needs.

"As nearly as it's possible to do, we're going to see what life is really like through each other's eyes. I'm going to get a set of blue wraparound glasses and I'm going to give him a gray wig."

The idea for the trip came when the pair began meeting in Washington last year to discuss debt cancellation for the poorest countries. While Africa gains media interest at times of crisis, such as famine or political upheaval, this trip will focus attention on some of the region's success stories as well. Commentators have noted that the trip, which begins on May 20th, will raise awareness of poverty in the region ahead of the G8 Summit later in the summer.


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