Friday, February 20, 2009

Annan and Geldof meet Italy's Premier

We love the quotes that come from Sir Bob Geldof, they have a real "punk rock" quality to them.

We found some more quotes from Bob Geldof today, as he and former UN secretary Kofi Annan met with Italy's Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Italy holds the chair of the G8 this year, so the two activists pressed the Premier to keep Africa poverty a focus as he leads the group of the wealthiest nations.

This Associated Press article that we found in the International Herald Tribune covered the meeting, and gave us the quotes from Sir Geldof.

"In richer countries this crisis is resulting in bankruptcy, unemployment, personal misery and fear for the future," the former U.N. chief said. "But for many in Africa, the effects are life-threatening."

Annan, who is chairman of the Africa Progress Panel, a group devoted to promoting development, warned that lives and progress were at risk in Africa because of the financial downturn. And he urged rich nations to keep up their commitments in the face of the crisis.

"The impact is profound, and deepening," said Annan, citing decreasing trade and foreign investment, drying up credit and slumping revenues. He said hunger will likely increase, school attendance will drop, and women and children will be the hard hit.

The IMF has revised downward its estimate for growth in Africa in 2009, Annan told a meeting organized by the Italian chapter of the Aspen Institute.

Geldof challenged Berlusconi to prove his leadership and be at the forefront of efforts to halve extreme poverty around the world by 2015.

"Don't talk to me about the financial crisis," Geldof told reporters. "Whatever financial crisis we meet, it is life or death" for people in Africa.

"This money does not go into some black hole, it goes into an empty stomach," Geldof said

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