Last June Sir Bob Geldoff gave a key note speech at Hull Business Week. He has made many all over the world. Today, he writes in the Financial Times ahead of the Washington summit.

Back in June, he gave his well known biography highlighting that the Live Aid effort was all about the symptoms of Poverty. The Wembley Concert raised awareness and people all over the world dug deep to feed starving people. To adapt a Chinese proverb, Live Aid fed the crowd for a day. Now, Sir Bob Geldoff (and his colleagues) urges us to be more focussed on the structure of the problem. As the proverb goes – teaching people how to fish; feeds them for a lifetime. In Hull, he was talking the language of sustained economic transformation. And, unlike many others, he has walked the talk.

Sir Bob told stories of places he had been where real progress had been made. He spoke of a woman he had met someplace in Africa years back. She had been starving and had to walk to the next village to get the food for her family to eat. Often she would arrive to find nothing left. He met her again in 2007. This time she was smiling. This time she had a mobile phone and this meant that she could ring on ahead and place her order with, say, the butcher. And the butcher could make sure that he had her order. And the wholesaler could call the farmer and so on. She walked to the next village with purpose and not just in a vain hope.

These initiatives transform the economy. And infrastructure and logistics are a key part of the structure of the problem and the solution.

In the Financial Times [November 14th, 2008], Bob Geldoff covers the ground again. As ever, he counts off his points on the fingers of his hand and then, pulls them together into a fist. He pulls no punches and sets a compelling agenda. Recognising the current financial crisis as awful though “with great effort we will recover” he makes clear what needs to be done.

He makes clear that we are living a moment of flux that offers the chance to revive ideas that have been resisted. Read the article to feel the momentum in his ideas.

He makes a final point about the need to resist Protectionism and push Trade. “This new round of globalisation must not be accompanied by a return to protectionism. Make Poverty History called for progress on debt, aid and trade … We need to pursue a stand alone trade deal for Africa that supports regional integration, delivers improved market access, addresses supply side constraints such as weak infrastructure, deals with the most damaging subsidies and allows governments to determine their own development strategies.”

The world cannot afford to disenfranchise 900m potential producers and consumers. And this is where the Transformational Logistics agenda is taking shape.

Financial Times, 14th November 2008

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