Jacob Weisberg has a good piece up bringing to task all the politicians, celebrities and activist groups pushing for the same old failed policies to "end poverty" in Africa. Leaving aside the fact that the solution to problems in Africa must ultimately rest with Africans themselves, none of the things called for by the likes of Blair and Bono are likely to make a damn difference for the better; even their calls for trade barriers against African products to be dropped are tainted by their inane insistence that African countries be allowed to keep their own import barriers, which speaks volumes both about their ignorance of the fact that free trade is mutually beneficial and their utter lack of appreciation of how African elites manipulate said barriers to favor chosen cliques at the expense of the rest of their citizens: just ask any ordinary Nigerian how he feels about the "import license" regime of the last 35 years.
The efforts of Blair and the "Live 8" participants no doubt spring (at least in part) from good intentions, but theirs is a classic illustration of how a failure to do one's homework can lead one to advocate all sorts of nonsensical and even harmful policies. Africa doesn't need neo-mercantilism, charity that subsidizes brutal socialist regimes, or fewer strings on the disbursement of aid which is already spent with little accountability or much in the way of results.
NB: Here's more on the realities behind the 1980s Band Aid effort, and for those interested in a native's account of what's really been going on in Ethiopia, you can't do better than go through this guy's archives (see, e.g., this entry). There's a tremendous amount of self-deception and egomania on display amongst those who think handouts from the West are the answer to the problems of an entire continent riven by ethnic strife and rife with misrule.