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Extreme poverty could end by 2030, says Bono

China Daily/Agencies | Updated: 2013-02-28 09:08

Rock star Bono on Tuesday made a case that extreme poverty could be eliminated by 2030 with the help of technology.

"Forget the rock opera. Forget the bombast," Bono told a rapt audience at a prestigious TED (technology, entertainment and design) gathering in southern California. "The only thing singing today is the facts. I have truly embraced my inner nerd."

He playfully put his trademark tinted glasses on upside down to highlight his point.

Extreme poverty could end by 2030, says Bono

Bono and actress Eve Hewson arrive for the 21st Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party on Sunday in Hollywood, California. Mehdi Taamallah / Agence France-Presse

"Exit the rock star," he said. "Enter the evidence-based activist. The factavist."

The famed U2 front man was awarded the first TED Prize in 2005 and used the "wish" granted by the influential group - which includes thinkers, celebrities, scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians - to help wage war on extreme poverty.

The cash award with the prize at the time was $100,000, and the TED community was essential to building a grassroots network underpinning efforts of the humanitarian ONE campaign Bono co-founded.

TED curator Chris Anderson played a pivotal role in helping get the One.com online address for Bono's campaign, according to ONE co-founder Jamie Drummond.

Bono was back on stage on Tuesday to provide an update on his efforts. He seized the moment to revel in progress made and urge people not to let the momentum stall.

Thanks in great part to technology, some of it in the form of medical breakthroughs, more people with AIDS are getting life-saving drugs, and deaths from malaria have dropped. Meanwhile, the child mortality rate is falling, with 7,256 fewer children dying daily, Bono said.

The percentage of people who live in extreme poverty, as defined by those living on less than $1.25 a day, was 21 percent as of 2010, slightly less than half of what it was in 1990.

"The rate is still too high, but it is mind-blowing heart-stopping stuff," Bono said, noting that if the trajectory continues the extreme poverty rate would hit zero by 2030.

"We get to the Zero Zone. For number crunchers like us, that is the erogenous zone. I am sexually aroused by the collating of data."

He cautioned that the momentum could still be lost without pressure on politicians to continue supporting programs such as his ONE campaign despite economic challenges.

Agence France-Presse


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