Since 1999 he has become increasingly involved in campaigning for third-world debt relief and the plight of Africa. In May 2002 he took US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on a four-country tour of Africa. Also that year, Bono set up a organization called "DATA", which stands for Debt, Aids, Trade in Africa. The focus of the organization is to raise awareness about Africa's unpayable debts, uncontrolled spread of AIDS, and unfair trade rules which the country's citizens poor.
While on his mission to highlight Africa's AIDS crisis, Bono traveled to the White House for a special private meeting with President George W. Bush, who had just unveiled a $5 billion aid package for the world's poorest countries that respect human rights. Bono also accompanied the President for a speech on the White House lawn. "This is an important first step, and a serious and impressive new level of commitment... This must happen urgently, because this is a crisis," Bono said, "It is much easier and hipper for me to be on the barricades with a handkerchief over my nose -- it looks better on the resume of a rock 'n' roll star. But I can do better by just getting into the White House and talking to a man who I believe listens, wants to listen, on these subjects."
Bono appears in the 2002 List of "100 Greatest Britons" (sponsored by the BBC, voted for by the public and which included Irish people), alongside such other greats as Sir Winston Churchill, Diana, Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Bob Geldof and others.