Bob Geldof made us care about Ethiopia - President
"Following on from that (BBC) broadcast, the Band Aid single and the Live Aid worldwide television broadcast, co-ordinated by Bob Geldof with his urgent and somewhat colourful appeals for donations, alerted many young Irish people for the first time to the ravages of famine in Ethiopia and the complex series of factors behind such plight," said Mr Higgins.
He was speaking to the Irish community in Ethiopia last night - on the first leg of his official visit to the continent.
Earlier in the day he became the first ever Irish politician to address the United Nations Economic Commission in Africa, where he said that Ireland's property crash destroyed our once "healthy" economy.
"Our economy was engulfed in a credit-led speculative, property bubble," he told the commission, which had representatives from the World Bank.
Mr Higgins will also travel to Malawi and South Africa during his visit.