Bono has joined a group of forty international organizations working to combat AIDS under the flag of the Global AIDS Alliance. The mission of the group is to lobby world leaders, pharmaceutical firms and financial lenders to assist the more than 36 million people infected with the virus worldwide.
The Alliance was announced in a news conference in Washington D.C. on March 29th. Bono was not in attendance at the conference but did release a statement furthering his call to the world’s richest nations to call off the debt owed by the poorest.
Bono urged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to cancel outstanding debts from countries ravaged by the disease. “We’re calling on George Bush and (Treasury Secretary) Paul O’Neill to take leadership on this issue and direct the IMF and World Bank to cancel the debts which kill,” Bono said in a statement.
The Global AIDS Alliance, led by co-director Paul Zeitz, is specifically seeking aid for Africa, where there are more than 25 million individuals suffering from the disease. Zeitz called on President Bush to provide the continent with a package totaling anywhere from $4 to $15 billion to provide the country with easier and cheaper access to medication. Current copyright laws held by pharmaceutical companies make the drugs expensive, less accessible and illegal for developing countries to reproduce.