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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK
Geldof makes Africa rights call
Sir Bob Geldof
A Commission for Africa has been set up
Bob Geldof has called on world leaders to lead a new Commission for Africa to establish how the West can help the "Fourth World" underclass.

The campaigning musician said the West must audit the state of poverty in the continent and develop global solutions for change.

His call to state heads comes after a return visit to Ethiopia in 2003.

He was addressing the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales at St Paul's Cathedral.

In February the British Government launched an ambitious plan to analyse Africa's problems and submit potential solutions.

The Commission for Africa will pull together a broad analysis of the continent's development challenges and in 2005 submit a plan for tackling them.

Summon the thinkers, and writers and culture geeks, philosophy wonks and development freaks
Bob Geldof

In his speech Mr Geldof said: "I asked the [British] Prime Minister to bear in mind the extraordinary year of political coincidence and confluence that is coming.

"(Next year) will see Britain as president of Europe and chair of the G8 at a time when Live Aid celebrates its 20th anniversary."

He said he made the request after returning to Ethiopia almost 20 years since he led the Live Aid charity concerts.

New agenda

"Summon the thinkers, and writers and culture geeks, philosophy wonks and development freaks, the economists and anthropologists," he said.

"And report back not only to the seven richest nations in the world, but also that generation that 20 years ago took Africa and the world's poor from nowhere on the global political agenda and placed it right at the top."

Mr Geldof, made an honorary knight in 1986 for his work on Africa, said in the 20 years since he began campaigning, Africa has grown poorer by 25%.

Half the continent's population live on an estimated 65p or less a day.

"Fourth World"

While 6,000 Africans a day die of Aids, he said, only one in 400 victims has access to anti-retroviral drugs.

"Africa has slipped out of the world safety net. They drift away from us propelled by the enormity of their poverty and our exhausted indifference," Mr Geldof said.

"They have entered a category of their own.

"Composed of the most vulnerable and marginalised, most put upon and ignored.

"They have become a new category of misery, a continental underclass - a fourth world."

The former musician told his audience a new commission for Africa would look at the causes of poverty and disease and provide a "single, massive, coherent" response.

He said it would have to look at solutions and ask Africans what they want and how best it can be delivered.

Geldof backs Africa commission
27 Feb 04  |  Politics

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