Rock star Bono made a grab for America's purse strings as a four-nation aid and debt factfinding tour with US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reached South Africa.
"He is the man in charge of America's wallet," Bono said of Mr O'Neill.
"And it's true, I want to open that wallet."
The comment came as the dynamic do-good duo arrived in Pretoria for talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Treasury Seecretary Paul O'Neill, right, and singer Bono from the band U2 wear the traditional outfits presented to them by the villagers of Wamali, in Tamale, northern Ghana, Wednesday May 22, 2002. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
"All three of us have a passion for seeing the world's living standard increase quickly for people who have been poor too long," Mr O'Neill said.
In a break from protocol, Bono, lead singer with U2, also met Trevor Manuel, South Africa's finance minister, in a meeting ostensibly called to sign a joint US/South African money laundering agreement.
Bono, who has long fought for the abolition of Third World debt, was welcomed by Mr Manuel as "an old friend".
Cheers to boos
The meetings followed a visit to Ghana, where Mr O'Neill and Bono toured villages, markets and a hospital.
"People should not be expected to live without clean water," Mr O'Neill said after his hospital visit.
"We should do something about it and do something about it now."
Mr O'Neill has been a vocal critic of anti-poverty programmes, saying they have wasted huge amounts of cash by failing to stimulate economic development.
But Bono warned that anger against the US could grow if it failed to act against poverty.
"We are driving down the streets and people are waving,
people are jumping up and down, they are glad to see the United
States," Bono 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."
The US recently committed to boost aid by $10bn in 2004-06.