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Sarkozy tells Bono will seek Africa transparency laws

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(ADDIS ABABA) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy told singer-activist Bono Sunday that he will spearhead efforts to force companies extracting raw materials in Africa to say how much they pay local regimes.

In a letter released by Sarkozy's office, the French leader said he "totally" agreed with the Irish singer on the need to make the exploitation of raw materials in Africa more transparent.

The letter was in response to a letter by Bono published in French daily Le Monde calling on France to lead the way in supporting a European bill based on the "Publish What You Pay" concept, which aims to tackle state-level corruption and redistribute natural-resource revenues to the populations of African countries.

"I have decided to ask the European Union to adopt as quickly as possible legislation forcing companies in the extractive sector to publish what they pay to host countries," Sarkozy wrote in the letter to Bono.

Sarkozy, who currently presides the G8 and G20 forums, said France will also organise a meeting "gathering world experts" in March in Paris on the subject.

In the letter Bono wrote: "It is high time, for the busy man who leads France, and for the world, to decide," reminding Sarkozy that the United States had already voted for a "Publish What You Pay" bill.

The statement was issued as Sarkozy was in Addis Ababa to attend the opening of an African Union summit.

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