The U2 singer and Paul O'Neill are touring some of the world's poorest nations hoping to study and address third world debt...

U2 frontman BONO has arrived in South Africa with US Treasury Secretary PAUL O’NEILL ahead of talks with the South African president THABO MBEKI.

The curious duo are on a tour of some of the world’s poorest nations hoping to study and address third world debt, aid and social issues. O’Neill will also meet with South African finance minister Trevor Manuel today (May 23) when the two will sign an agreement to jointly combat money laundering.

O’Neill and Bono have already travelled to Ghana, where their plane was grounded for hours last night in the northern town of Tamale because of a thunderstorm. They will also visit Uganda and Ethopia before the trip ends on May 31.

While working towards a common goal of debt relief, different approaches have emerged from the two during the trip. Bono has argued that public aid is needed, as well as the private sector help favoured by O’Neill, to reduce poverty and create jobs. While in Ghana yesterday, Bono, warned that unless Washington stepped in and were seen to be helping, current positive reactions from local people could turn to resentment.

“We are driving down the streets and people are waving, people are jumping up and down, they are glad to see the United States,” he said. “If this country doesn’t get help, doesn’t get the sense of a new beginning… you come back in five years and they’ll be throwing rocks at the bus.”

A major fear for the US administration is that impoverished Africans could become easy recruits for terrorist groups, Reuters reports.