Global Tax 50 2014: Bono
Rockstar, campaigner on development
Bono, U2's lead singer, may have fallen off his bike when he tried cycling in Central Park in November, but he has proved to be a lot better at raising awareness about the help the world's poorest countries need to develop their economies. The Irishman co-founded the ONE campaign, the international campaigning and advocacy organisation, and has used it this year to exert pressure on politicians and administrators through what the organisation describes as "private lobbying and targeted public interventions". ONE has directed its work in 2014 at the G20, looking for action in four areas: public registers of beneficial ownerships of companies and trusts; transparency in the extractives industries, tax information exchange and open data.
"Given ONE's focus on Africa, the principal reason for our work on these issues is to mobilise domestic resources, primarily tax revenues from citizens and private companies," says the ONE Campaign. "Because of the importance of natural resource revenues in many developing countries, we have been campaigning for increased transparency in the extractives sector for many years."
Bono has availed of opportunities such as a speech to the European People's Party conference in Dublin earlier this year to build pressure on policy makers to act. ONE also ran a campaign called the Trillion Dollar Scandal leading up to the G20 heads of government meeting in Brisbane, in which it argued secrecy costs the world's poorest countries at least $1 trillion every year.
Like any wealthy figure who is vocal about anyone less fortunate than themselves, the Dubliner gets his fair share of "Who does he think is?" commentary, but he has put himself forward as someone who wants to help and believes he has to. Not everyone in his position has done the same.
The Global Tax 50 2014
Gold tier (ranked in order of influence)
Silver tier (in alphabetic order)
Joaquín Almunia • Apple • Justice Patrick Boyle • CTPA • Joe Hockey • IMF • Arun Jaitley • Marius Kohl • Tizhong Liao • Kosie Louw • Pierre Moscovici • Michael Noonan • Wolfgang Schäuble • Algirdas Šemeta • Robert Stack
Bronze tier (in alphabetic order)
Shinzo Abe • Alberto Arenas • Piet Battiau • Monica Bhatia • Bitcoin • Bono • Warren Buffett • ECJ Translators • Eurodad • Hungarian protestors • Indian Special Investigation Team (SIT) • Chris Jordan • Armando Lara Yaffar • McKesson • Patrick Odier • OECD printing facilities • Pier Carlo Padoan • Mariano Rajoy • Najib Razak • Alex Salmond • Skandia • Tax Justice Network • Edward Troup • Margrethe Vestager • Heinz Zourek