It raised £40m and put international development on the agenda, but 20 years after Live Aid, Africa's problems are as bad as ever. Nick Morrison looks at what has changed in the intervening two decades - and what a second concert hopes to achieve.

FOR many of the estimated 1.5 billion worldwide audience who tuned into the Live Aid broadcast, there were two unforgettable moments of a truly extraordinary day.

One was Freddie Mercury leading the audience in a singalong; the other was Bob Geldof imploring the public to "Give us your f***in' money."

It may have caused palpitations among TV executives, but the former Boomtown Rat's exhortation galvanised millions of people into action. The two Live Aid concerts, in London and Philadelphia, raised around £40m for famine relief, and for the first time made international aid a subject for political debate.

Twenty years on, Geldof is once again marshalling the music world in the cause of famine relief. Yesterday, he announced a repeat concert, or rather a series of five concerts, to be held in London, Philadelphia, Rome, Paris and Berlin.

But this time he is not after our f***in' money. Or at least not directly. Live 8, as the 2005 version is to be called, is being timed to coincide with the run-up to the G8 meeting of the eight leading industrialised nations, to be held in Scotland in July and hosted by Tony Blair.

The Prime Minister has made addressing Africa's problems a priority for the summit, but if his proposals are to be accepted, they will require a radical shift in opinion by leaders of the developed world, a shift which could only ever be achieved through sustained and co-ordinated pressure from their electorates. And it is as part of this worldwide campaign to bring pressure on the most powerful men in the world that Live 8 takes its place. If Live Aid was about alleviating a famine, Live 8 is about trying to stop famines happening again.

But Live 8 should not be seen as an admission that Live Aid was a failure, just that it was never going to be enough, according to David Golding, a member of Make Poverty History campaign in the North-East and a member of the national board of the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

"It made a significant difference to the lives of hundreds and thousands of people and if you were one of those you wouldn't be very pleased if somebody said we shouldn't have bothered," he says.

"But it is a bit like saying I keep throwing these buckets of water into the sea but the tide keeps coming in. It is that serious, because there are major structural injustices which are impoverishing whole generations across entire continents. In comparison to that, all the voluntary donations are frankly sticking plasters."

Despite the work of aid agencies, there are still some three billion people, half the world's population, living on less than $2 a day. One billion people are living on less than $1 a day.

While Live Aid awoke people to the level of poverty in some parts of the world, the challenge now is even greater, says Jonathan Dorsett, Northern campaigner for Oxfam, one of the more than 400 groups involved in the Make Poverty History campaign.

"You can raise money but unless you change the situation on the ground, people aren't going to be able to lift themselves out of poverty," he says. "This is an amazing opportunity to try and influence the talks these leaders are having on Africa."

Make Poverty History has identified three priorities to tackling the problems of the developing world: fair trade, debt relief and aid. It is this threefold approach which will be highlighted in Live 8 on July 2 and will be pressed on world leaders at the G8 summit from July 6-8.

Firstly, there is fair trade. One of the most startling injustices sees richer countries spending vast sums to subsidise their own producers, who then dump their surplus stock in Third World markets. Producers in developing countries find it impossible to compete, and so are driven out of business.

For example, the US spends more on supporting its 25,000 cotton farmers than it does on aid to Africa. Poor countries which are dependant on cotton, including Mali and Burkina Faso, suffer as the surplus means prices are driven down.

But the US is not the only offender. The developed world spends around $350bn on agricultural subsidies, seven times more than it spends on aid to the developing world. "The result is total destitution for hundreds of millions of farmers," says Dr Golding.

Secondly, there is debt relief. Prudence went out of the window during the 1970s when the West lent vast sums of money to the Third World, money that could never be repaid. Much of this went to tyrants who had no interest in lifting their subjects out of poverty: more than half of Haiti's international debt was lent to Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier, ruthless dictators who enforced their will through the notorious Tontons Macoute.

And as if this debt wasn't bad enough, an economic downturn in the 1980s saw interest rates rise. People who had started off poor then found themselves owing vast amounts of debt.

Although some debt has already been cancelled, that owed to governments, this represents just ten per cent of the total debt, says Mr Dorsett. Each year, Africa faces demands for $10bn in debt repayments; at the end of the 20th century, for every £1 in aid, the West wanted £3 in debt repayment

Finally, there is aid. In 1970, the countries of the UN agreed to work towards a target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid. More than 30 years later, only five countries have achieved that figure. Britain spends 0.43 per cent of its income on aid. The Government has committed itself to reaching 0.7 per cent by 2013.

Much of the aid which does get through comes with strings attached. About 70 per cent of US aid is given on condition it is spent in America, in other words, on goods which are unwanted by the donor country. In Italy, the figure is 90 per cent.

Along with more aid, campaigners want it to be free of these constraints. The corresponding duty is to monitor how it is spent, with sanctions against countries or organisations which do not spend it wisely. And the potential to make a difference is huge. An estimated eight million lives could be saved every year if minimal health care was available to everyone.

But while it would require a major upheaval for G8 leaders to commit themselves to achieving Make Poverty History's aims, Dr Golding, a lecturer at Newcastle University, believes the financial impact on the West would be negligible, while the benefit to Africa would be enormous.

One of the results of a 30 per cent cut in Tanzania's debt burden in 2001 was the abolition of primary school fees. Almost two million more children now go to primary school, 45,000 classrooms have been built and 37,000 teachers recruited. Next year, Tanzania aims to achieve its goal of universal basic education.

"These are massive amounts to their fragile economies, but in the vast scale of our economies they are trivial," Dr Golding says. "And in the medium term we would all benefit. It is not good for the world economy to have a substantial part of the world not contributing. We have to get some sort of balance. The difference between rich and poor is simply wrong."

But if some of these targets seem optimistic, Mr Dorsett detects a shift in the political atmosphere which means the outlook has never looked so positive, a process began by Live Aid.

"Live Aid had a huge impact in bringing it home that people are suffering," he says. "We can talk figures until we're blue in the face but when you see people are suffering it makes such a difference.

"I think there is a political will for this change. Live Aid contributed significantly to international development but Live 8 and Make Poverty History are very much focussing on the opportunities this year presents."