Bono @ TEDGlobal 2007Bono is one of Africa’s biggest supporters. He was not listed on the official program for this TEDGlobal as a speaker and made an impromptu appearance on stage. Back in 2005 Bono won the TEDPrize and accepted with a truly riveting talk on why the West should help Africa and how they can benefit as capitalists not as donors.

Since there had been two mentions of the Marshall plan Bono mentioned that it’s the anniversary of this initiative on Tuesday, on June 5. He went on that a comedian normally says what nobody else wants to say in a room. And I think here he refers to himself saying what nobody else wants to say the world leaders and other powerful people that he meets in the course of his advocacy work on behalf of Africa. It is unfair that Africa’s grandchildren have to pay for the debt of their forefathers. When the colonialists moved out of Africa in many cases they started lending huge amounts of money back to these colonies. There was so much more to Bono’s talk but you’ll have to wait until this one is released on the TED website.

When he took some questions from the audience there was a sense of him being attacked or put on the spot because those asking the questions disagreed vehemently about the appropriateness of aid to Africa going forward. Bono is a master communicator and responded without defending himself. And in this way probably gained even more respect from the audience. This was a very fitting end to the first session on day 1 on TEDGlobal.

You may want to read Ethan Zuckerman’s detailed reporting on the Bono vs Mwenda debate on Aid.