Bono is the lead singer of Irish rock group U2, one of the most well-known and successful bands in the history of the recorded music industry. Since 1977, U2 has gained an extensive audience through their spellbinding live performances and critically acclaimed recordings. Bono is also a committed and successful activist in global politics and development policy. During 1999-2000, Bono played a leading role in persuading the U.S. and other industrialized nations to write-off over $30 billion of old debt owed by the poorest countries, so that the monies freed up could be spent on health and education. In partnership with other activists, his campaigning efforts contributed to the U.S. decision to triple foreign assistance to Africa, and to mount a response to the AIDS crisis, resulting in 2 million Africans receiving life-saving anti-retroviral medication.