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U2 singer Bono talks development aid with French president Macron

By AFP 25 July 2017   |   4:00 am

rish U2 musician and philanthropist Bono, co-founder of the organisation ONE, speaks to the press following his meeting with the French president at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 24, 2017. Paul David Hewson, better known as Bono, will be meeting the French president in a bid to champion his organisation One which battles against extreme poverty and illness, particularly in Africa. JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP

Irish rock star Bono, founder of the ONE campaign against poverty and disease, met on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who stressed his wish to increase development aid, according to the U2 frontman.

“I never had many conversations quite like that, a president very open to finding new, innovative ways to solve the problems affecting the world’s poor,” Bono told reporters after the meeting at the French presidential palace.

“We talked about the refugee crisis and how most Europeans now understand that what happens in Africa matters to them,” the Irish singer and humanitarian added.

Macron “reconfirmed” his commitment to increase development aid to 0.55 percent of GDP by 2022, the singer told journalists, a move he described as “really important for all our campaigners”.

The French government has decided to cut its aid development budget for 2017 as part of wider cost-cutting measures, a move which has been criticised by Bono’s ONE group.

Bono also met with French first lady Brigitte Macron, a former teacher, discussing “how to deal with 30 million girls not going to school”.

The U2 singer is no stranger to the Elysee Palace having already met Macron’s predecessors Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

Emmanuel Macron will continue meeting on Wednesday with Barbadian singer-songwriter Rihanna, ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, to discuss France’s funding of international education after she brought up the matter on Twitter last month.

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