South 2 North

Bob Geldof: 'This generation too will fail'

The musician and philanthropist challenges young people to affect change or risk repeating the mistakes of the past.

Last Modified: 19 Oct 2013 07:19
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No subject is off limits - Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

This week on South2North, Haru Mutasa speaks to Irish rock musician and philanthropist Bob Geldof and three young entrepreneurs at the One Young World Summit, held in Johannesburg.

Days after declaring that his own generation had "failed", Geldof tells Haru that the next generation will also fail if things do not change soon.

"The first thing is education. Out of that will come an economy, an economy of scale," he says.

For Africa to advance, Geldof says: "You do need aid, you do need debt cancellation, all those things I’ve banged on about for 30 years. You do need massive inward investment from the Chinese and the West. And you do need a social glue. In Africa's case, that's the mobile phone. There's very little infrastructure here; this became a virtual infrastructure. Once you had the money available to trade, they began trading through this and you got lift-off on the African continent so that seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world today are on this continent."
He says the youth are right to blame his generation for the problems the world faces today: "All generations fail, but ours more spectacularly than most."
And he is not optimistic that this generation will perform vastly better.

"Your generation will fail as well," he tells Haru. "You just try and ameliorate the future and steer it in a way that you think will work out. But if you seriously think you will escape this century without horrendous wars, without awful plagues, without deadly famines, if you think you'll escape that, forget it."
Geldof also warns about the perils caused by climate change. "There's no avoiding it now, so now you have to offset the effects. The poorest people, the most vulnerable, those who contributed the least to this, they will be affected the most. Some of the countries out there won't even be here in 20 years."

"Be very careful: wherever you look there's a sense of unease. Name one country where there isn't," he says.
This week, Haru, who is standing in for regular host Redi Tlhabi, also talks to Bethlehem Alemu, the Ethiopian founder of global shoe brand SoleRebels; Nokia's Yiwen Wu; and Jeremy Lamri, the French founder of Monkey Tie, an online recruitment platform.

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.


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