News and Information

Africa Commission concludes talks
February 24, 2005

By David Loyn
BBC developing world correspondent

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi sits with Tony Blair on the Commission
The Africa Commission is holding its final meeting in London.

The Commission, headed by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and including singer Bob Geldof and prominent African politicians, should report next month.

Alongside appeals for more aid, fairer trade and less debt, the Commission report is likely to demand a much tougher line on corruption in Africa.

Thursday's meeting is mostly about implementation, before the meeting of the G8 group in Scotland this July.

Bob Geldof, in characteristically blunt style, promised that this would not just be a talking shop but would deliver radical new thinking to change direction for Africa.

It was the only continent in decline in the last decades of the 20th Century.

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof believes the Commission can deliver

There has been a constant tension between dreams and pragmatic action during the Africa Commission process.

But the fact that Mr Geldof has stayed in must mean that the commission will have something new to say next month when its report is published.

The people involved include two African government leaders and a range of other African politicians, as well as experts from some other developed countries.

Tony Blair is putting a lot of store in sorting out Africa this year and has promised to make it one of the priorities of Britain's presidency of the G8 group of rich nations.

The meeting at London's Shell Centre is the last chance for his selected commission to have its say on how it should be done.


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