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Friday, February 27, 2004

Commission for Africa to tackle "scar on the world's conscience"
Prime Minister Tony Blair is to establish an international commission to propose solutions to Africa's problems and has pledged to make the fight against poverty an "absolute priority".

The commission, will consist of British politicians Tony Blair, UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and International Development Secretary Hilary Benn, activist Bob Geldof, as well as Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi + South African finance minister Trevor Manuel who will together deliver their comprehensive review by spring 2005, just before the UK takes over presidency of the G8.

DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), an organisation that campaigns on debt cancellation, trade reform and raising money to fight AIDS + poverty in Africa said "This is a bold and exciting move from the Prime Minister and puts Africa at the top of the international agenda where it desperately needs to be"

Unfortunately, it has already been acknowledged the commission wasn't guaranteeing to plug the emerging aid funding deficit, ease Africa's enormous debt obligations or create equitable trade rules - all seen as key to making the continent a competitive economic force.

It can only be hoped that this commission will not degenerate into being another talking shop as, Africa is poorer than it was 25 years ago, many of the UN's recent Millennium Development Goals show few signs of being achieved + ever since Willy Brandt's 1980 report North-South: A Programme for Survival, it has been argued that the rich north should help countries in the poor southern hemisphere.