Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bono in Ghana

Bono is still in Africa but this time he`s in Ghana. He`s visited the Meltwater enterpreneurial school of technology.

There was some fun too...

At the 233 Jazz Bar in Accra, Ghana

Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of The ONE Campaign and (RED), met with Ghanaian entrepreneurs to hear how technology is transforming Ghana and discussed ways in which digital innovation can spur economic development and increase transparency in health, agriculture and government services.

Approximately 70 people joined the session at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), including internationally renowned Ghanaian business leaders and entrepreneurs such as Bright Simons of mPedigree, Edward Amartey-Tagoe of Nandimobile and Eyram Tawia of Leti Games.

Bono was joined at the visit by a diverse delegation of leaders from the international policymaking, business and creative communities who are traveling with him in Ghana as part of a ONE/(RED) listening and learning trip to the region.

Bono said: "Technology can play a huge part in eradicating extreme poverty. As well as building thriving businesses, it can be used to battle corruption by helping citizens hold corporations and governments to account. Transparency is the best vaccine against corruption, and harnessing the talent of these tech-savvy innovators could dramatically change the game against those trying to game the system."

Bono and ONE have been working over the past few years with African partners on the fight for greater transparency and accountability in development, with a focus on increasing transparency in the extractives industry, and on how to increase international investment in Africa.

The group at Meltwater also discussed how technology can serve as a tool to ensure grassroots voices are heard as the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are discussed. The MDGs, created by former UN secretary general, Ghanaian Kofi Anan and adopted in 2000, are a set of globally-agreed development goals that aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger and massively reduce disease by 2015. As that deadline approaches, world leaders are debating what should follow. It is important that the voices of the citizens in developing nations are heard in this process. ONE's 'You Choose' campaign used mobile technology to ask people in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi what their priorities are for the future.

Jorn Lyseggen, Founder and CEO of Meltwater and MEST, added that "MEST was started on the fundamental belief that technology entrepreneurship is one Africa's most exciting untapped opportunities. We are proud that Bono and chose MEST as the venue to discuss how tech can help address Africa's challenges'.

Earlier , the group also visited the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to see the difference being made by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. (RED), which partners with corporations to drive funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa, has generated almost US $215 million for the Global Fund to date.

Prior to arriving in Ghana , the group was in Liberia meeting with local leaders in government, business, healthcare and the energy sector. Bono and members of the ONE / (RED) team met President Sirleaf in Monrovia and President Mahama in Accra.

About MEST: The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the MEST Incubator program provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring software entrepreneurs with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa.

MEST is based in Accra, Ghana and is fully funded and run by Meltwater Group through the non-profit organization, Meltwater Foundation

Since 2008 MEST has trained over 100 tech entrepreneurs and has invested over $1.5M in 13 tech start-ups in Ghana. MEST companies have raised external capital, competed in top technology events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO, and the Launch Festival, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as HealthXL and 500 Startups.

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