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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March 2005, 11:56 GMT
Commission for Africa: Samantha Smit
BBC News website asked Africans living on the continent for their thoughts on the UK-led Commission for Africa's final report.

Godwin
Godwin Emejuobi:
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Kasozi
Kasozi Lubega:
Kampala, Uganda

Ousman
Ousman Njie:
Cairo, Egypt

Samantha
Samantha Smit:
Lusaka, Zambia
Iqbal
Iqbal Jhazbhay:
Pretoria, South Africa

Yared
Yared Mussie:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Trevor
Trevor Simumba:
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Amboka
Amboka Wameyo:
Arusha, Tanzania

Samantha Smit

The Commission for Africa is a great idea and I would like to see it work.

MEET THE PANEL
Samantha Smit (Lusaka, Zambia)
Name: Samantha Smit
Age: 35
Lives: Lusaka, Zambia
Occupation: Deputy General Manager, Lilayi Lodge
Born: Kitwe, Zambia
Religion: Roman Catholic
In 10 words or less: Family orientated, working Mum, love doing things with my children

I want to see African governments implement the suggestions.

I think it will work but it will take a lot longer than what they anticipate.

They have set these goals but I do not think that they will be able to meet them so quickly because Africa is slower.

It is just how it is here.

Nothing happens in a hurry but that is part of what we love about Africa.

The Commission can't push and force people to move faster.

Instead they must work with us, in our timeframe, as then it will have quite a good chance of working.

They must also work with countries on an individual basis.

For example Zambia is very different to Mozambique, or Zimbabwe, or South Africa.

Some countries are more developed than others and some have problems in different areas to others.

Samantha Smit (Lusaka, Zambia)
Africa needs help but not by throwing lots of US dollars at it

They must try and work with each individual country or maybe group similar ones together instead of taking on the whole of Africa, because we are all different.

The people are so different. Botswana and Zambia are neighbours and yet there is no comparison between the people.

Zambia needs help with education and health.

Some of the main hospitals here don't even have the basics, such as painkillers, and-HIV positive Zambians need anti-retroviral drugs.

Work is needed at grassroots level though - teaching people about hygiene and getting the basic problems sorted out with basic drugs and healthcare first.

African voices: See where our panel live

The Commission is ambitious in its timeframe but not ideas.

The ideas are great and if they are implemented properly I think it will work.

They must be realistic though, considering that the Millennium goals are not even on track for 2015, I do not see how this will be different.

They should learn from that and set realistic goals that people can work towards.

If the Commission's objectives are not reached within the specified timeframe it will just cause disappointment.

Expectations must not be set so high.


Your comments:

One can look at this Commission report as merely good words with no further actions to make changes and things happen for Africa. To me, the report is one of enlightenment and it brings hope to the future of our continent. The truth is that; there is no easy way, but at the same time nothing is impossible. The Marshal plan was possible and the Asia development can give Africans and the rest of the world proof that Africa can get out of this stagnation.

We are seeing positive changes to accommodate all the good proposals in this report, from good governance to decentralisation across Africa. In just ten years after genocide, Rwanda has done a lot in socio-economic development, we are in the second year of democratic elected government and the future looks brighter.

What needs to be emphasised for Africa is development of human resource and its retention to avoid brain drain. Beyond that we Africans should lead and orient our developments; Lets give a chance to Nepad. God Bless Africa.
Eudes Kayumba, Kigali, Rwanda

I used to solely blame the Europeans for all of Africa's problems. Now, I know better. African leaders have proved time and again that they consider leadership solely as a means to personal corrupt enrichment while paying lip service to welfare of their abjectly poor people in order to receive more foreign aid. Mr Tony Blair's reasoning that his African Commission masterplan would automatically lift Africa out of poverty in the same way the Marshall Plan worked for post World War II Europe is fundamentally flawed.

Without the essential ingredient of selfless patriotic leadership as was evident in the post WWII Europe. Leaders were genuinely disturbed about the pitiable plight of their fellow citizens. The African Commission masterplan would ultimately amount to another mere paper tiger like many others that failed in the implementation phase.
Tosin Adeoye, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Africa, it's all the same. Like many other publications on the plight of Africa, the Commission for Africa report is a document that attempts to template or cookie cutter the numerous plights of Africa. Despite the similarity of challenges facing the continent the level and degrees of need should be articulated sufficiently to inform the readers the extent and emergency facing the continent.

The fact remains, that there is considerable variation in the need and urgency and thus variation in the recommendations, implementation and mechanisms of control. Attempting to cookie cutter the challenges and create the same monitoring mechanisms for improvement is also an approach that has failed time and time again. Granted, the standard measures of economic growth are imperative, but we need to create control plans that are monitored on a periodic basis that are specific to the climate/infrastructure of that country.

All too often we hand over the recipe for success with no inherent understanding of the limited resources of cultural challenges and expect a fit and then ponder why it didn't work like it did in another location.
Michelle Morrell, Nashville, TN (born in Lusaka, Zambia)

Personally I think that this initiative will go the way of all the others. There is no incentive to corrupt governments to change and democratise, they will just wait for the debts to be written off then borrow some more which will end up in a Swiss bank account. Half the Commission itself is there under dodgy circumstances and the other half support them.

Darfur is supposed to have been tackled by Africans and nothing has been done, Somalia is a no mans land even for its own government and Zimbabwe is actively supported by South Africa! Trade credits, loans and debt write off should only be given to those states that have active democracy with at least two clean multiparty elections (e.g. Botswana) and a free press.

The rest should be left to get on with it until they satisfy these basic conditions. It might be helpful if all aid was conditional on no arms purchases (and even no armies e.g. Costa Rica) defence guaranteed by western troops, and was aimed at infrastructure.

The rest will follow naturally quite quickly given these basic improvements because with trade comes taxes and with them comes health care etc in a virtuous circle
Andy, UK

I sense a convergence today; with views I might have held when you were born, at which time I was living not too far from Lilayi. But right now, and with the benefit of a working lifetime on the continent, I think I diverge in one respect: set the expectations high. If the achievement is less it doesn't matter, which is one of Africa's endearing attributes.

If you expect little Africa will deliver even less because she senses little importance is attached to the expectation. Aim high and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. I always did in matters academic. To have done otherwise would have understated the value of the efforts the high achievers were prepared to put in.
Mike, London, UK

The onus is on the West to implement those eight action points detailed in the report. If this was done it would be possible for African nations to do their part as resources will then be readily available. To wait until Africans acted first would imply a lack of seriousness on the part of the West. Selfishness drives most Africans to behave strangely, such as plundering economies of their countries and piling it in foreign lands.

People should be made to know that the best place for one to invest in is one's home. You only try elsewhere if you have a surplus. The West should show the thieves that it has no room for stolen money by sending it back. I only hope this initiative is sincere and not just a ruse for Mr Blair to save face after the humiliating Iraq fiasco championed by George W Bush.
Daniel Banda, Kitwe, Zambia




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