Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Investor Bono backs technology as force for change


Peter Flanagan New Technology Correspondent

HE is a global music icon and high-profile technology investor, so it is no surprise that Bono believes technology can "change the world" for the better.

In an interview with MIT's online Technology Review, the U2 frontman said tech has already changed the developing world "in ways we couldn't have imagined" in the last decade and will continue to do so into the future.

"The tech that's been delivered has been staggering in its measurable achievements," he said.

"For example, a complex 15-drug AIDS regimen compressed into one pill a day [now saving 8m lives], the insecticide-treated bed net cut malaria deaths by half in eight African countries in the last three years), kids' vaccinations, the mobile phone, the internet, and spread of information – a deadly combination for dictators, for corruption.

"There is no silver bullet to ending extreme poverty and disease, no magic technology ... [but] technology provides the means [to do it]," he added.

Bono has reputedly made a fortune through his private equity firm's investment in Facebook, but he is clearly more concerned with using technology for the wider good, especially in developing countries and combating extreme poverty.


"Technology has already helped tackle the extreme poverty in Africa of living on less than $1.25 a day.

"The digital revolution that we are living through, the rapid advances in health and agri-technology, these things have become core weapons in [fighting extreme poverty].

"In Africa, things are changing so rapidly. Innovations like farmers using mobile phones to check seed prices, for banking, for sending payments ... to the macro effect we saw with the Arab Spring thanks to Facebook and Twitter," Bono claimed.

The singer famously had a close relationship with former US president George W Bush and has praised him for his work fighting AIDS in Africa. Yesterday however he said President Barack Obama was building on Mr Bush's work.

"President Obama has already set a strong course on strengthening food security in poor countries, and President Bush's legacy on AIDS. Both of these initiatives need to be accelerated. With global leadership to promote partnerships with poorer countries, and with the right resources, we can end a few things that just don't belong in the 21st century, like AIDS, malaria, and polio," he added

Irish Independent

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