/ 13 September 2010

Donors must ramp up Africa aid, urges Blair commission

International donors must commit to giving billions more dollars in aid to Africa to reduce poverty and help the continent face new challenges, a commission set up by Tony Blair urged on Monday.

There had been “extraordinary progress” in the past five years since the body first laid out a series of recommendations to promote development on the continent, said the Commission for Africa.

Growth rates had surged in many places, governance had improved and aid had increased, said the new report from the body set up in 2004 by the then British premier Blair, which has 17 members including prominent African politicians.

But it warned the vast majority of Africans had not benefited from the success of recent years and new challenges, such as climate change and the economic crisis, meant poverty reduction was becoming increasingly difficult.

The Group of 20 advanced and developing nations — the main economic forum for world leaders — should take over responsibility for providing long-term aid to Africa, and this aid should be increased, urged the commission.

This was something previously carried out by the Group of Eight rich nations.

“The G20 should take on the G8’s previous role in making and monitoring commitments to supporting growth and development in Africa,” concluded the report.

“The G20 should commit to increasing aid to Africa from 2010 onwards to a further $25-billion per annum by 2015,” it said.

The publication of the report comes ahead of a summit in New York from September 21 to 23 to review a set of ambitious development goals first set out at the Millennium summit in 2000.

The Commission for Africa said that, despite the progress of recent years, sub-Saharan Africa was not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

It further warned: “Economic growth and trade have been damaged by the global economic crisis.

“Climate change and rising food prices will make poverty reduction more challenging in many parts of the continent.”

The commission’s new report reviews how well the recommendations in their original 2005 report have been acted upon.

Commission members include Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa. – AFP