Bono: World Has A Stake In Upcoming US Election

Bono speaks in Rwanda, May 2006 Bono speaks in Rwanda, May 2006

U2 frontman and activist Bono said Wednesday that next week’s presidential election provides a great opportunity to “relaunch Brand USA” amid worldwide scrutiny.

“The whole world has a stake in how things turn out,” the Ireland native told thousands of Starbucks Corp. employees in New Orleans for a leadership conference. The coffee company and Bono’s (RED) label, which helps raise money for the Global Fund that pays for AIDS programs in Africa, also announced a partnership Wednesday.

The singer talked about brands and what they stand for. In Starbucks’ case, he said some might see it as a place to hang out and get coffee — but that brand can also signify social responsibility.

The way the U.S. is perceived — “Brand USA” — also means something, he said. And it’s never been so closely watched, said Bono, who didn’t endorse either candidate for president.

Regardless of who wins, “it’s a great chance to relaunch Brand USA,” he said.

Bono has been a leading advocate for Africa, drawing attention to issues ranging from poverty and hunger to AIDS.

(RED) aims to partner with private companies to sell products such as coffee drinks, with some proceeds going to the Global Fund. More than $112 million has been raised in the two years since (RED) launched. (RED) helps pay for medication and other services for people in Africa suffering from AIDS and HIV, according to its Web site.

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