New commission to focus on international policy over Africa

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced yesterday that an international commission is set to examine policy relating to Africa.

The Commission aims to generate increased support for the G8 Africa Action Plan and the New Partnership for African Development, said Mr Blair at his monthly press conference for journalists yesterday.

"It will be a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Africa and policies towards Africa," said Mr Blair who will chair the Commission's meetings.

Africa is the only continent to have grown poorer in the past 25 years. Its share of world trade has halved in the generation, and it receives less than one per cent of direct foreign investment.

The Commissioners will be politicians and opinion formers from Africa and around the world. Chancellor Gordon Brown and International Development Secretary Hilary Benn are already confirmed as Commissioners. Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia and Trevor Manuel, the South African Minister of Finance, and Sir Bob Geldof have also agreed to serve.

Each Commissioner is expected to consult widely with expert thinkers and the public on the issues.

Mr Blair said: "I have said on many occasions that I believe Africa is the scar on the conscience of the world, and I think it is right that we continue to treat this as an absolute priority over the coming years."

The Prime Minister will ask the commission to submit the report by next Spring.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 October 2004
World's focus must be to support Africa, says Blair
During his visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Tony Blair has told the international community it must turn its attention towards Africa as the time for excuses is over. Mr Blair was speaking ahead of chairing the second session of his Commission for Africa.
20 January 2005
Prime Minister expects Bush to be "more consensual"
Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he believes George W. Bush will be "more consensual" in relation to world politics, as he moves into his second term as US President.
04 October 2004
Blair back in No10 'fresh and alert' after heart op
The Prime Minister has arrived back at Downing Street today "feeling fresh and alert" following his heart operation last week. Mr Blair spent the weekend at Chequers – the Prime Minister's countryside retreat in Buckinghamshire – before returning to Downing Street to prepare for his visit to Africa this week.
12 January 2012
UK Film Urged To Go Mainstream
Comments made by Britain’s Prime Minister, that urged the UK film industry to become more "mainstream" ahead of a review on the UK’s film policy next Monday, have been met with criticism.
12 March 2010
BBC's Christine Skis Channel
Northern Ireland-born television presenter Christine Bleakley has successfully water-skied across in the English Channel in aid of BBC Sports Relief. The One Show star completed the arduous challenge in just over an hour. Before setting out on the 21-mile ski Christine, 31, admitted she was "petrified".