Wealthy nations in the West are experiencing a backlash against funding efforts to battle AIDS in Africa, and the reason, according to rock star–turned-activist Bono, can be summarized in one word: populism.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the U2 front man explained that capitalism in rich nations is chewing up their citizens and giving rise to problems that require money and investments to address. Why, in keeping with this line of thinking, would a country like the United States invest in Africa’s HIV epidemic when American citizens need help?
Not that Bono opposes capitalism. As the Guardian reports, he said capitalism has helped more people out of poverty than “any other -ism.” But he cautioned listeners: “It is a wild beast. If it is not tamed, it can chew up a lot of people along the way.”
Regarding the fight against AIDS in Africa, Bono said, “We could lose this thing.” Why should Western nations care about the epidemic in Africa? “If Africa loses, Europe can’t win,” he said, according to the Guardian article.
He also warned that if Western business and governments fail to invest in Africa, then China might step in and meet that need.