Commission for Africa seeks faster progress

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The Commission for Africa has urged donor governments to provide an extra $10 billion-$20 billion a year to help Africa adapt to climate change, broker gainful deals for exploiting their natural resources, and build on the progress already experienced.

The group which was set up by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair- to find solutions to poverty in Africa, reports that donor nations were falling short of their aid pledges; and progress on reforming international trade rules had been drab.

The commission therefore urged donor countries to support a fund to help African governments get access to the best legal and technical counsel so they could “negotiate deals on the exploitation of their countries’ natural resources that will be of greatest benefit to their population.”

“African governments must act quickly to draw up strategies to tackle climate change. They [African governments] would need tens of billions of dollars a year in additional funding from rich countries to confront this massive challenge,” the report read.

Richer countries were urged to follow the lead of the United States by making it mandatory for oil, gas and mining companies listed on their stock exchanges to reveal what they pay foreign governments for the right to extract natural resources and to make it an offense to import illegally sourced resources; including timber.

The commission which includes serving and former African leaders and financial figures among its 17 members, praised the headway African countries had made on education, health care, agriculture, and on the economy.

6% growth

According to the commission for Africa, Africa has enjoyed an average annual growth rate of six percent for much of the past ten years; and a multiplying trade and foreign investment turnover.

The Commission for Africa report comes shortly before world leaders meet at the United Nations from September 20 to 22 to evaluate progress on the Millennium Development Goals MDGs.

According to analysts, some African countries are on track to meeting the MDGs aimed at drastically reducing poverty and hunger worldwide by 2015, nonetheless the commission for Africa believes the progress needed to be broader and faster.

While African countries have experienced economic success partly due to the demand for Africa’s natural resources from countries such as China and India, the vast majority of people in the continent have yet to benefit from the boon.

The Commission for Africa includes Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, South African Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, Botswana central bank Governor Linah Mohohlo, activist and musician Bob Geldof, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, and former British prime ministers Blair and Gordon Brown.

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