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Vol 46 No 5

Published 4th March 2005

The Blair report - unveiled

The Africa Commission will call on rich countries to double aid budgets and open their markets immediately

Africa Confidential has obtained a copy of a final draft of the Commission for Africa report, due to be launched amid fanfare in London on 11 March 2005 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The report, ranging from governance and corruption to arms control and trade, lists recommendations that Britain hopes will galvanise international action to tackle poverty in Africa. However, its analysis and recommendations offer little new thinking on African development; hardly surprising, given that the report has emerged after just three plenary sessions of the 17 commissioners (see Box) and limited consultations. The key role of the 'Blair Commission', originally suggested by Irish rock singer Bob Geldof, will be to proselytise for Africa, and work as a briefing paper for the Group of 8 Summit to be hosted by Britain at Gleneagles, Scotland on 6-8 July. But there remain huge questions about Britain's ability to extract commitments on aid and trade reform from its fellow G8 members.

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