Michael Buerk’s powerful BBC reports galvanised a young Irish singer and band leader to action. The huge aid operation begun by Bob Geldof in 1984 and to which millions of Irish people contributed, has resulted in an economic miracle unmatched in Africa. The nation of 94m people is not without its difficulties and still receives development aid from many countries. It also has a repressive media environment, with bloggers and journalists who are critical of the government habitually jailed.
While Ethiopia has a way to go before it is self-sufficient, it is making great strides and has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Ireland’s contribution since 1984 has changed from food aid to development and is now focused largely on education. One of our most successful programmes is run by Camara, an Irish-based international charity that sends refurbished computers and IT equipment to seven African countries as well as Jamaica, Haiti and disadvantaged schools in Ireland.
Ethiopia’s government says it is on course to meet most of the millennium development goals to be a middle-income country by 2025. After the horror of famine, that is a legacy that Sir Bob can be proud of.