German Chancellor Reassures Bono On Africa

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told U2's Bono on Tuesday that the future of Africa will play a major role when Group of Eight leaders meet in June, the government said.

Bono met Merkel at the chancellery to press his call for the continent to remain high on the agenda of the world's leading industrial countries. Germany, which chairs the G-8, will host their annual summit in the Baltic sea resort of Heiligendamm.

Merkel pledged that Africa will play "an outstanding role," with a focus on issues such as improving the climate for investment, a government spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity.

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair made debt relief for Africa a key issue when he hosted the G-8 summit in 2005, and has called for a redoubling of momentum this year.

Bono has echoed that call, saying at January's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum: "Africa is this magical, extraordinary continent and we've got to start describing it more as an opportunity than a burden."

The 46-year-old Irish rocker is co-founder of the organization DATA, or Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa, which seeks to raise awareness for Africa.