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Responses To Tony Blair's Commission On Africa

African responses to Tony Blair's Commission on Africa: The Alternatives Commission on Africa.

On Tuesday 5th July at 11a.m in Friends Meeting House, Edinburgh, campaigners and activists from across Africa will be available to explain why they want to have their voices heard in opposition to Tony Blair's commission on Africa.

In the run up to the G9, the UK Prime Minister has said that Africa is top of his agenda. A year ago, he set up a commission on Africa, to take a fresh look at the continent's problems. He claimed that the Commission would look at AFrica's problems through African eyes. However, the Africans included in his Commission are leaders who were not going to question G8 policy on Africa.

A range of African NGOs and organisations have expressed frustration and concern that they have not been consulted as part of the commission process.

The Alternatives Commission, was set up one month ago in response to statements from Blair and Brown that they were going to solve africa's problems with limited debt relief and increased aid. This response is an oversimplification of what really needs to happen to address poverty in Africa. This alternatives commission is a response to the lack of democractic consultation represented by the Blair commission.

Writers and campaigners from a range of African countries have expressed their views in the Alternatives Commission for Africa report. Contributions to the report range from short statements to more indepth economic analysis.

They argue that the Blair Commission is not only too limited in its aspirations for Africa, but that the whole basis for the Commission is flawed. For most of the contributors to the Alternatives Commission, the problem is that Africa needs less control by the IMF and the World Bank, not more.

The international financial institutions have failed Africa with flawed policies and enforced privatisation and user charges over decades. While Blair's commission argues for an increased role for the private sector, and is focused on more input from Western transnational corporations, there are real concerns about how this will impact on poverty on the ground.

African speakers will be available at the launch of the Alternatives report on Tuesday to explain why African voices must be heard and included in planning Africa's future. They include Trevor Ngwane, Soweto Forum against Privatisation, Charles Abugre, veteran campaigner for justice in Ghana, Samir Amin, leading author and campaigner resident in Egypt and paris, Chaity Musumba, debt campaigner from Zambia, MP Giyose from Jubilee South.

Note: copies of the report will be available at the press conference and online.

Enquiries to Emma Miller, 0141 632 0200 0779 663 0922; emma_miller@talk21.com

Or Mindy Ran mran@xs4all.nl mobile (Netherlands mobile, but in Scotland for G8) ++ 31 461 13487


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