Bono, Bob Geldof plead for African aid

Present a report on financial shortfall in Paris

PARIS -- Bono, Bob Geldof and other celebrities pressed the world's wealthiest countries Wednesday to come through with more pledged financial aid for Africa.

The Irish rock stars-turned-activists presented a new report that found the Group of Eight countries have collectively donated a fraction of the $22 billion in extra funds they pledged in 2005 to be paid by 2010.

"What this big, long, exact, cold and brutal analysis shows us is that halfway to this historic date of 2010 -- halfway -- these wealthy countries ... have delivered 14%. How tragic is that?" Geldof told reporters in Paris.

"What a failure for all of us," he said.

The report by Data, an advocacy group aimed at wiping out extreme poverty and AIDS in Africa, says targeted aid is working, but countries are falling behind in their commitments.

Bono, Geldof, singer Angelique Kidjo, tennis star-turned-singer Yannick Noah and aid workers laid out the findings in Paris, partly to put pressure on France near the July 1 start of its presidency of the European Union.

The report said that 2.1 million Africans are on life-saving AIDS drugs, up from 50,000 in 2002; that 26 million children were immunized against life-threatening diseases from 2001 to 2006; and that 29 million children in Africa entered school for the first time between 1999 and 2005 because of debt relief and increased aid.

It also said that France's assistance to sub-Saharan Africa fell $66 million from 2006 to 2007; that Germany, Italy and Canada are off "track;" and that "more is needed" from Japan. The U.S. and Britain appear set to meet their targets by 2010, it said.
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