Bono at the Founders Conference

Bono, the lead singer of U2, has long been known for his advocacy work, notably as an activist to reduce poverty and disease in Africa.  At a recent conference, Bono admitted that it had been “a humbling thing for me” to realize the importance of capitalism and entrepreneurialism in philanthropy, particularly as someone who “got into this as a righteous anger activist with all the cliches.” “Job creators and innovators are just the key, and aid is just a bridge.”  “A humbling thing was to learn the role of commerce.”

Exactly right.

Blogger Ryan Anderson summed things up well:

Monetary aid will never be able to solve Africa’s problems until institutions that foster individual and collective enterprise flourish. Transparent governance, the rule of law, and market economies are necessities. As long as governmental corruption, misplaced market incentives (through subsidies), and institutions of repression rule the day, no amount of money will change a thing. Money, technical know-how, medicines, and all sorts of material goods can only do so much without the necessary political, legal, and economic institutions. But it is even more important that cultural institutions rise to the challenge of inculcating the personal virtues required for self-sufficiency, self-governance, and economic growth: honesty, integrity, fair play, hard work, thrift, investment, creativity. The entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with moral backbone, is the only way Africa will lift herself out of poverty. Helping Africa enter commercial society is foundational. As John Paul II put it in his encyclical Centesimus Annus, it is “necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources.”

Congo Nishati Mpya was created for local Congolese to develop small enterprises that will provide income and purpose and to help promote a spirit of entrepreneurship in the community to enable people to develop a better life.