Irish rock star and philanthropist Bob Geldof has raised $200 million for the African private equity fund '8 Mile', in a major move away from seeking debt forgiveness for the poverty stricken region to a new emphasis on promoting private enterprise.
'Africa is now a continent of extraordinary business and investment opportunity,' Geldof said in a statement reported by eyewitnessnews.co.za. 'Private equity is one way to support the enterprise and dynamism of the people of the continent and help provide the jobs and skills that are needed.'
'8 Mile' is named after the shortest distance between Europe and Africa and it plans to invest in companies that provide jobs and long-term growth for the region.
The fund's backers include the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, the African Development Bank and the CDC, Britain's development finance arm.
Most famous for being the front man of the Boomtown Rats, Geldof attained global fame in 1980's as the organizer of the international Band Aid and Live Aid records and concerts that raised millions of dollars for African aid.
Subsequently Geldof was at the head of a major push in 2005 to have rich countries write off African debt to the poorest nations there and to double their aid spending by 2010.