The Commission for Africa, a blue-ribbon panel headed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, recently issued a development plan for Africa. The report, Our Common Interest, asks leaders from both the industrialized world and African nations to create a new partnership to end poverty and build a prosperous future for the region.
The plan, which will be discussed at the G-8 Summit in June and the European Union meetings later this year, is expected to help Africa meet its goals for reducing poverty by 2015. It challenges developed nations to remove agricultural subsidies for their farmers, double their foreign aid, and cancel the debt in Africa, while African nations are called on to root out corrupt leadership and strive for more accountable governments.
Blair’s 17-member panel, including representatives from Africa, the West, and China, analyzed more than 500 documents from private and public sources, and met with individuals and groups from 49 regions and countries in Africa. The commission identified key economic problems and proposed that if African nations generate their own development programmes and economic infrastructure, they will receive financial and technological assistance from the industrialized world.
Our Common Interest is the most comprehensive development report since the 1980 recommendations of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues, which was chaired by former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. Unlike the Brandt Commission, the Commission for Africa does not address global macroeconomic issues. But its detailed proposal for a new Marshall Plan for Africa is similar to the emergency relief programme outlined in the Brandt Report.
“The new report is a far-reaching analysis of the state of Africa and includes many concrete solutions,” said James Quilligan, managing director of the Centre for Global Negotiations. “The world has begun to realize how ending poverty and expanding development in our poorest regions will contribute to international peace and prosperity, just as the Brandt Commission anticipated.”
A review of the Commission for Africa report is attached. It is also available online from the Centre for Global Negotiations at www.global-negotiations.org. For an update of the original proposals of the Brandt Commission, see www.brandt21forum.info.
James Bernard Quilligan