Commission for Africa: Into Africa

African development is a key theme for Britain’s presidencies of the G-8 group of industrialised countries and the European Union. As part of this, Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the Commission for Africa draw up an agenda for action. After a year’s work the commission will publish its final report this month, probably simultaneously in New York, Addis Ababa and London. The project has drawn criticism as accident prone and long on rhetoric, can it deliver?

The World Today
Published 1 March 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 4 minute READ

Prime Minister Blair’s personal commitment to Africa is in no doubt. During the Labour government’s first term the prime minister authorised British military support for UN and regional peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone. At the start of the second term he announced that Africa would be a government policy priority, but this agenda was until recently overshadowed by the Iraq war. The tsunami disaster also delayed plans for Africa, but the tragedy did not eclipse the issue for long, although its impact on global aid commitments outside Asia is less clear.

The British public seems to support the government’s Africa focus. A recent Chatham House survey showed large numbers of people rank Britain’s efforts on the continent as important. Even in the Scottish village of Gleneagles that will play host to the G8 summit in July, there was awareness of Africa.

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