[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 08:59 GMT
Will Africa report make a difference?
A woman walks past a sign reading 'Africa No. 1' at her make shift shop in a market in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo
The UK-led Commission for Africa is urging wealthy nations to double their aid to the continent, raising it by £30bn ($50bn) a year over 10 years.

Their final report calls for debts to be cancelled, trade barriers to be lifted and that African leaders eradicate corruption and promote good governance.

Some aid agencies have welcomed the thrust of the changes demanded, however others have criticised it for not being radical enough.

Can the Commission for Africa meet the challenges facing the world's poorest continent? Is it a turning point in the relationship between the West and Africa? Or just another talking shop? If you are an African will it change your life?

Some of your comments were broadcast on Focus on Africa on Saturday 12 March 2005.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

AFRICAN VOICES
Ousman Njie (Cairo, Egypt)

The Commission for Africa is a step in the right direction. But as usual, it is the people on the ground that will drive it forward. One of the main problems for people in developing countries is access to information, about markets and opportunities, to help themselves. Knowledge is one the most powerful tools of development, and the only one which is free. It is these linkages which need to be strengthened.
Georgina Smith, London

The day Tony Blair published his report, another conference was held in London where people in the Transformational Business Network, showed how they were actually helping by investing in projects in India and Africa and trying to reduce poverty by action instead of by producing another report. It is a pity the press focuses on the talkers rather than the doers.
Cameron Denny, Guildford, UK

I think this commission is no different from other ones. African countries should strengthen their political institutions in order to reap the gains of the globalising world. They should strive to solve their problems before inviting countries from outside the continent. Unless this is done, the commission will be blown away by the wind just like the ones before it.
Durueke Justin, Owerri, Nigeria

The report has gone half way towards making some useful recommendations. It criticises unfair trade practices, and recommends that countries should not be forced to liberalise their economies. They must be allowed a measure of choice and balance between protectionism and liberalisation. However, the report does not have the courage to identify liberalisation and export-oriented economies as the key causes of African poverty and polarisation of wealth. Indeed, the Africa Commission's consultation process was not open enough to allow participants to even question this model of development, which has clearly failed Africa and her people.
Teresa, Devon, UK

As long as our skin colour is black there will be no help from the West. Racist foreign policies of Europeans and their selfishness will continue at our expense. Rwanda is a perfect example as well as Darfur.
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilla

This report will not change our lives
Hamid M. Noraty, Chad/UK
My thanks to Mr Blair and Brown for their hard work to change the image of my continent that has been neglected by its own leaders. But unfortunately this report will not change our lives whether you cancel or double the aid, if the barriers of faire trade are not opened and the corrupt African leaders realise that the time has come to change their leadership image.
Hamid M. Noraty, Chad/UK

The report will not make a difference. In September 2000 the same world leaders agreed to the UN Millennium Development goals. Yet the pledges are not coming. These goals cannot be achieved due to the unwillingness of rich countries to live up to their promises.
Zolu Gobah, Monrovia

It is a great opportunity for Africans and I hope in this regard Africans will put away their differences to work toward the development of the continent, which is always in the world's media headlines because of their negative conflicts. It is time to take a chance and develop the continent.
Aboubacarr Njie, Serrekunda, The Gambia

It's just lip service, especially since the current administration in America will never sign on to the plan.
Kevin, San Francisco, USA

This report is going to end up being just a number of empty promises and false hopes if the realization isn't properly supervised. The rebuilding and help needs to start at the grassroots level and go up from there. If countries like the United States would stop spending money on wars and allocate resources in Africa properly as to make sure the aid doesn't fall in the wrong hands, then and maybe only then will things change for the better in Africa.
Cristian Nyari, New York City, USA

How can the West return money stolen by corrupt officials and to whom will the money be returned?
Emmanuel Ngallah, Sydney

The report is theoretically fantastic, but some of the six things mentioned seem to be practically impossible; not only from the Africans' point of view but also from the western point of view. How can the West return money stolen by corrupt officials and to whom will the money be returned? Say for instance we want to return money to Zimbabwe and Mugabe is the corrupt leader who stole the money, how is this going to be done and benefit the country?

Selling arms, this is one of the best money making business, and the top people in the West know it and are behind it, who is going to stop them, and as on top of it, it is done underground? The best way is to educate Africans to bring awareness and let themselves stop buying the weapons. If you ask me about my opinion, I would simply say, the most important and possible things to be done are (in the order of importance):
1. Provide free primary schools.
2. Spend more on health, especially Aids.
3. Cancel debts, and
4. The West should fund African peacekeeping.
Emmanuel Ngallah, Sydney, Australia

I worked at the sharp end of aid projects to Africa in the 60s and 70s camping for long periods in the bush and experiencing much of what happens at the local political level where development schemes were formulated. I could write a book about all the ill considered projects devised for political reasons which consumed vast sums of money and never benefited the local people.

Much of what I saw at first hand contributed to some measure of Third world debt today. I am not against giving aid to Africa, in fact I am passionately in favour, but it must be done appropriately and on the advice of people who have relevant experience.

What I saw only a few years ago on a visit to certain West African country opened my eyes even further with regard to what happens when large sums of money are available to people in positions of power.
Robin Hassall, Aberlour, UK

Africans are tired of western governments lining up to sink their nations into more debt with aid towards media-friendly non-productive projects
Edward, Leeds, UK

Aid is good, but debt relief is better. Africans are tired of western governments lining up to sink their nations into more debt with aid towards media-friendly non-productive projects, that end up being embezzled by well fed non-productive governments.

If the West would focus on relieving the debt burden, erasing impediments to balanced and competitive trade, and most importantly refuse to accept/hide/hang on to funds stolen by corrupt African government officials, Africa will be fine.
Edward, Leeds, UK (Nigerian)

It can be a turning point. It depends on the Africans and their leaders for 99%. Money can be given but if corruption stays nothing will be done. Western governments must accept and channel resources to more non-governmental organizations that have a clean record of performance. Money given to thieves is money denied to the needy and abuse of the taxpayer.
Shirima Val, Nairobi, Kenya

So much has been said over the years. With all the good intentions coming from all angles it all comes to nothing if we in and from Africa do not start sharing proper information. Information is the key to proper planning and supply chain management. Let's get this done first. Until then nothing is bound to happen.
Kobbi, London, UK

It's a new dawn. The West should match their words with action and African leaders should take full responsibilities for plundering Africa's resources in the past decades. The time for sit tight government has passed; it's time for leaders like Mugabe, Museveni and Paul Biya to go. If the Commission for Africa is to see the light of the day, corruption should be tackled head-on.
Arome James, Anyigba, Kogi state, Nigeria

Sorry but Africa is too corrupt to help - at least at the moment. So much money has been given only to see it end up in the hands of tyrants who do not help their people at all. We cannot just keep up with this kind of benevolence. Yes Africa needs help but first they must help themselves.
Anne, UK/Greece

The Commission's report is most welcome. But will the recommendations benefit me, as student in a remote part of Zambia? This is the question that must be answered. Our national leaders cannot be trusted with making a contribution to improving governance as they are just too corrupt.

I agree with the sentiments of Mr Mwanza of Nayac that the challenge is on the new leadership. That, I think, will only surface in the years to come. The current leaders are too corrupt and are incapable of fulfilling the required demands of the report.
Maggie, Chipata, Zambia

The fact is that there is such a waste. Here in my own country the government is spending billions of Rands on arms to fight who? For our 10th anniversary of democracy, 90 million was spent on the party for a few privileged people. On the same day a European country donated that amount for a development project.
Frank Hartry, Amanzimtoti, South Africa

I don't have to even read the report to know that it is will not make any difference
SS Adzei, Ghana

As an African, I don't have to even read the report to know that it is will not make any difference. Africans need to stop the patronizing and humiliating way its citizens are viewed as the first step towards changing the fortunes of the continent.
SS Adzei, Ghana

Aid must always be in line with what Africa really wants for itself. Some projects are logical to us, but cannot be sustained on local ambitions and culture. Helping people to industrialise is not really helping them - it is trying to make them western. Do we really want Africa to look like the rest of the exploited world? Perhaps industrialising Africa is just a way of getting at their natural resources...
Peter-John Freeman, Cape Town

The report gives hope! Few concrete suggestions:
Africa can help itself if the West stops tutoring and protecting their favourite dictators to stay in power for unlimited periods instead of letting good governance and democracy prevail.
The UN should get involved in limiting the tenure of power of these selfish rulers.
The West must stop creating wars and selling arms that diverts and drains away the economy.
Rich countries must remove trade barriers for African products.
And charity money coming from outside is judicially used, not wasted along the line by hungry officials and aid workers.
M Kali, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro

The people at the grassroots must be empowered
Daniel, Arusha, Tanzania

People have talked and talked but about solving Africa's problems but it's only one way as the South African diplomat Trevor Manuel on the Africa Commission said. The people at the grassroots must be empowered. Normally those in power use the stolen money, mostly stolen from government to distort and confuse or even intimidate voters.

The end justifies their means of clinging to power and by so doing, they rule forever. The solution we need is a powerful opposition, not intimidated by incumbents and one that can challenge the government whatever the case.
Daniel, Arusha, Tanzania

Someone recently said that international aid was about "poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries". The point should not be lost. Provision and acceptance of such charity is ineffective without the accompanying provision and acceptance of the terms of how it will be used. Perhaps an IMF model could be used to create an International Charity Fund that could ensure that the money goes where it should go and for the purposes for which it is meant.
David Naylor, Mexico City, Mexico

Firstly I am glad to hear this and truly there is a need for more aid, but I am worried because most of African countries are full of greedy leaders; the best way I think is to give the real people who are in need of these funds. Most of African countries are occupied by hard workers but they have rotten luck obtaining capital. And so we welcome this idea. Let us not neglect the poor continent of Africa just because of the few corrupt people.
Noel Kanzengo, Blantyre, Malawi

We need your help, but we want you to make sure such help is placed in the right hands or we will not get it
Wilfred Winn, Jarkaken

The tragedies/woes of Africa have, for too long, been entertained with simply lip services by wealthy nations. It is time for the world to mean what it says and says what it means when it comes to the ills of Africa. While increasing aid is a great way to bring relief to us Africans, we definitely won't benefit from this gesture if the funds are continually placed into the greedy hands of self-centred, luxury-minded politicians.

I think I'm speaking for the ordinary masses in the streets, rural, urban, and ghettoes of Africa. We are fed up with massive corruption in Africa. We are fed up with the West's propensity to dump cash into the bank accounts of crooks and their cronies while the truly needy people are forgotten.

I hope Tony Blair's celebrated intention to relief Africa of many of her problems is not given a left eye look by other world powers. We need your help, but we want you to make sure such help is placed in the right hands or we will not get it.
Wilfred Winn, Jarkaken, Liberia

Of course the report will not make a difference. How on earth can African leaders eradicate corruption when they are responsible for it? Do Turkeys vote for Christmas?
MC Randall, Worcester England

We were all taught as children the difference between right and wrong. The crippling trade barriers should have been lifted years ago. If this report encourages the richer nations to remember their consciences then it will be a start to repairing this mess. Create a level playing field for trade... now!
Peter Hicks, Manchester, UK

The key to eliminating poverty is market reform and not donation
John, Hong Kong
The key to eliminating poverty is market reform and NOT donation. Hong Kong was a backwater society in the 1960s, but due to its embracement of free-market economic policy and a business-friendly environment, it now boasts a GDP per capita higher than that of the UK and the people enjoy a high living standard. Instead of just acting condescendingly towards Africa, perhaps the West should open up its market so that more of their goods can be sold in the developed world.
John, Hong Kong

I was really impressed by the Commission for Africa Report. The report has managed to identify major problems bedevilling the African continent. Its recommendations are comprehensive and appropriate to problems facing many African countries. If I am asked what are the four main things that developed countries need to do now I will say action, action, action and more action.
Abisha Mapendembe, Bath, UK (Zimbabwean)

What about Africans trying to help themselves. Where does all the money go that has been given to the African countries? Does no one believe in responsibility for oneself? When you keep giving to someone they begin to be ashamed and not respect the money. Tyrants arise and use the money for themselves. The reason for the terrible spread of HIV/Aids is due to the subservient position of females in Africa.

The sexual mutilation of their bodies mean that they can never enjoy sex and childbirth. Their birthright of their own bodies is denied them. Men in Africa are allowed to have more than one wife. Why? Until the social conditions of that society change there will never be changes in the way they are governed.
Judith Fried, Montreal, Canada

This report should be required reading for all Africa's decision makers, international organizations and foreign governments involved in African development work. To act contrary to the recommendations of this document would be to ignore the avoidable suffering of millions and to be held accountable for the undesirable knock-on effects which will surely be felt even in developed countries.

Compliance, on the other hand would mean that the heart-rending situation we are witnessing today, could in just one generation, be consigned to the annals of history, as a result of collective effort by responsible world leaders. This is unmistakably the way forward; it has been concisely and clearly mapped out by the visionary authors of the report. It is now up to both African and world leaders to accept the challenge.
Anino Emuwa, Lyon, France

We have been told by the West for so long that we are poor and we have started to believe it
Omollo Gaya, Kenya
Africa is (never was) not poor. It is our minds that has been messed up. We have been told by the West for so long that we are poor and we have started to believe it. The West developed on the back of Africa and they are not willing to let go the honeycomb. The Africa Commission is a diversion for us not to focus on our own initiatives like Africa Union and Nepad.

Tony Blair is trying to undercut and undermine the efforts that Mbeki and the illustrious sons and daughters of Africa are trying to do for themselves. We are not in need of aid. We have the resources that are fuelling the economic engine of growth for the rest of the world except Africa. The West should well leave us alone to sort our own problems.
Omollo Gaya, Kenya

Any aid given to African countries or any other third world countries needs to be tracked to insure it is used for the intended purpose. This way corruption will be no excuse not to promote development in Africa where there is so much potential. I just hope that Africans don't fall prey to the global chase for cheap goods that will cause the Africans to be exploited for the profit of consumer societies elsewhere.
Rey, Spartanburg, SC, USA

One of the abiding memories of the first (televised) Ethiopian famine I have is of Bob Geldof disembarking from a plane and berating "everyone in the West for doing nothing to help this starving nation"...in the background, sitting neatly on the tarmac were a fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft, I could count at least 12 such craft painted in Ethiopian Air Force livery. Back in 1984 they cost probably $30million each at least. Bob obviously wasn't bothered, probably still isn't, but the irony was never lost on me.

Africans must sort themselves out - end the corruption and war-mongering that has been endemic since the 1960's. Loans should be guaranteed by the African Union and also repaid (interest free if needs be) - not written off because some pop singer wants to climb Mount Ego. Throwing money into a host of despotic regimes only fattens the corrupt leaderships in Africa, it does not feed one starving family.
Mike, Ireland

Africa should stop comparing itself with any other continent
Sonny, Lagos, Nigeria
African Governmental System is not an African Creation it was created in the colonial era and has not been restructured appropriately for the Independence Era. It is designed to take value out of Africa and make Africa dependent. This is in conflict with the interest of African people. That is the reason for corruption and all the other woes of Africa.

Africa should stop comparing itself with any other continent as they are unique and original. Africans should understand that the rest of the world can not aid to build Africa because they have a conflict of interest. Africa has survived on her own genius and should build upon the African genius and learn from past mistakes not to be cheated.
Sonny, Lagos, Nigeria

Aid should be confined to medical items, then assistance in farming and cultivation and population control. For the last 55 years I have donated aid and watched vast sums disappear leaving the poor hungry, the thugs well armed and the rich and corrupt richer and more corrupt. Enough is enough, the people of Africa must lift their hearts and minds and move into the 21 century.
Joe Avery, Nantwtch, Cheshire

Africa's main problem is African politicians, including those at the UN. The governments of the Sudan and Zimbabwe are symptomatic of the corruption endemic in that continent. The UN must demand that there will be no more aid until there are free and fair elections in every nation, a free judiciary, and audited bank accounts of every recipient of foreign aid. Who can object to that?
Neill, Maryville, US

The idealism behind the UK's government policy on Africa is to be applauded. The UK's populace has proved its generosity over and over again, e.g. recent tsunami, Red Nose Day appeals, amongst a few. However, the government should not close its eyes to the impoverishment of Western society, there is much on its own doorstep that needs attention, which as it boasts we are the 4th best economic power, we should turn our attention to. This would encourage the British people to be even more generous to Africa!
Morag Butcher, Colyton, Devon, UK

Well, I just read the report that the President of Malawi has vacated the 300+ room presidential palace because of ghosts that sometimes take the form of rodents. This alone typifies the vast differences with Africa. This "gross opulence" while his countrymen starve is being abandoned because of superstition. Figures.
Julie, Maryland, USA

Indeed, the report is welcome. I saw abstract poverty and despair among rural villagers in Nigeria and Kenya. Educational facilities are practically nil among the rural people. Town planning is absent. Institutions are corrupt. The UK-led commission will surely help these people if proper monitoring is done and accountability is maintained. With this effort, Blair and his nation can redeem the pride they lost in Iraq by invading it.
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India

How much of the extra aid do you think will get to the people, my guess is 5% if you're lucky
K McVann, USA
How much of the extra aid do you think will get to the people, my guess is 5% if you're lucky. The rest will go to where most of it goes now, the corrupt leaders.
K McVann, USA

If the African apologists, bleeding hearts and Western altruists for the African condition are foolish enough to think that money and debt relief will provide miracles for Africa, then pass me the gravy and show me the money.
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa

I don't see any reason why the so-called report should be implemented because at the end of the day it is the so-called leaders that will benefit from any favourable outcome. The international bodies should force the so-called leaders to tidy up their country by eradicating corruption, promoting good and reliable government.
Ajayi Kayode Olusegun, Lagos, Nigeria

The crux of the problem in Africa is the lack of real democracy, and institutions that foster economic development, human rights, and social justice. The rampant corruption, dictatorship, and the absence of rule of law, all contributed to the sad state of affairs in that continent. With large deposits of mineral resources, and other raw material, Africa should be in better position to develop and prosper. But as long as the corrupted elites have strong grip on power with the tacit approval of the Western power, there is no hope. All the reports and recommendations are not worth the paper they are written on.
Sami, Chicago, USA

Africa should be ring-fenced; no more aid, no more grants, no more guns, no more help. Nothing. Until they can sort out their own problems and eradicate their corrupt officials then it is useless attempting anything.
Cameron, UK

Enough of these cruel antics
UE, UK/Nigeria
The last thing my continent needs is yet another of these (literally) countless "initiatives." Surely, if no other member of that Commission understands the basics of political economy, Blair and Brown should know that you do not build a country without institutions and infrastructure. Given the evident unwillingness of our rulers to create these two necessities (because effective institutions make corrupt and tyrannical misrule well nigh impossible), why should Blair and co. continue to give our longsuffering people the hope that things will soon change? What my people need is delivery, by which I mean an economic environment that enables them to provide food, medical care, housing, and other necessities of life for their families. Enough of these cruel antics.
UE, UK/Nigeria

They are the one who made this mess for Africa, so let Blair clear it for his colleagues. It's time for reconciliation.
Onthatile BB Maswibilili, Malaysia/Botswana

I am a Nigerian, but more importantly, I am an African. A black African. It angers me to be asked if the report will make a difference. Furthermore, the snobbery and unrelenting sadism of the west further infuriates me. Everything in this document should be agreed to. It is only more then fair. End all subsidies to western farmers and cancel all debt. My countries debt is well over $50billion. Have my people seen a cent? No. But the pockets of our former dictators have, and the western institutions such as the Paris club have collected to the nth power. First the west enslaves us physically. Then financially. And now mentally by asking whether we deserve a break. The media are just as much to blame for sitting on the fence for so many decades despite the ever present truths staring them in the eyes. My words may sound harsh but they are honest.
Abdul-Hameed Abubakar, Bahrain

Africa must get real and sort out its internal problems
Chris Govey, London, UK
I think there are some good comments in the new report, but I think that the people involved must understand that the capitalist countries in the world have been giving money for many years now, only to see it end up in the accounts of the corrupt officials. I think that Africa must get real and sort out its internal problems before we send any new large donations. If not there are going to be a lot more fat Swiss bank accounts, and millions of people going hungry, and sick just like now.
Chris Govey, London, UK

Blindly giving people money does not help anyone. What is needed is infrastructure, both physical and intellectual, to help people to help themselves. Merely giving aid just turns potentially able people into dependents.
Pete, Leeds, UK

I work in the development sector, on housing and infrastructure issues. I travel to Africa very frequently, and spend most of my time in the slums. I can honestly say that the conditions are far from acceptable and only getting worse by the day. I ask myself why? Here is the answer - the continent's own problems have been exacerbated by neglect on the part of donors and the developed world. The report, at the very least, is an honest verdict, and says it loud and clear so let's use it to our benefit, and really do something to make a change.
Ashna Mathema, USA

Throwing good money after bad. Just how long will it take Westerners to realise that until corruption is sorted out, nothing will change, apart from enriching further the already corrupt regimes that govern Africa.
Ian, Whitby, England

Africa has many problems, money is the least of them
Abraham Temu, New York, USA
That the commissioners are well-intentioned men and women is beyond doubt. But good intentions have never produce good results. Most of what is said in this report is already well known. Just like the Western countries have poached skilled healthcare workers from the region, most of the foreign aid given to Africa over the years, has ended up in Western Banks in Zurich and London, by our corrupt African leaders. This fact is widely known by Western leaders. Africa has many problems, money is the least of them. Obviously donors have to demand more accountability for the aid, including eradication of corruption, and more democratic reforms from African leaders.
Abraham Temu, New York, USA

Aid should be provided along with education on how to use Africa's vast resources. The Western world has exploited the continent in many ways, now is the time to teach Africans how to exploit their riches to enrich their lives.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

I am so impressed with the hard work of Blair to change once and for all Africa. But in Kenya my ministers and governments officials they keep all the riches... We get enough but we return nothing.
Anthony, Mombasa, Kenya

The efforts that have gone into producing this report is commendable. I do however think that the problem of Africa requires more seriousness on the part of the international community to assist African in its developmental efforts. What is required is the need to more closely monitor the disbursement of these funds and the use to which they are put. Henceforth, any leader who is found guilty of stealing public funds should be sentenced to life in prison.
Supo Adebayo, Toronto, Canada

It's better to set an ambitious target than no target at all. And while some of it might just be political rhetoric, it still serves the purpose of recognising the very real problems facing Africa, and of legitimizing the need for stronger action. It's the first consolidated effort; others will follow.
Ashna, US

People are becoming immune to seeing starving Africans and are becoming more and more angry about the "in you face" corruption that exists. Billions of dollars have been donated to the African countries over the past 25 years and for what? All it has done is make their corrupt leaders rich.
Annie Sousa, Bermuda

Teach them to fish, don't just give them fish
Jim, Sudbury, US
Make transparent democratic elections a requirement of receiving aid. Hold those elected leaders personally accountable for every penny. The West should provide accounting and operative support in building the infrastructure and helping their societies evolve into self-sufficiency. Teach them to fish, don't just give them fish.
Jim, Sudbury, MA US

As an African I feel thankful for it. I know the real situation of Africa. I feel for millions of children suffering of hunger, but pouring money to Africa is not a solution to tackle poverty. The first thing is to define strategies to tackle corruption and anarchy, to avoid misusing of the money by our leaders. Injecting money before that it will make no effect to the people in need.
Faztudo Langisse, Maputo, Mozambique

If most of the citizens on the African continent were light skinned like those of Thailand and the Asian countries, trade barriers would have been broken and greater technology transfer would have taken place. Just think of the tsunami and its response. The West should stop talking about corruption as if it's the cause of the poverty. Stop selling arms to vulnerable countries. Practise equal opportunities as you preach in your own country. What about the natural disasters like famine and acts of God? Africa's problem is not poverty but discrimination.
Colin, Ghana

I think Europe should address the issues in Africa and the USA/Canada should address the issues in Latin America. Let us each deal with our own backyards.
Mark Bauder, Chicago, USA

One thing that came to my mind after reading the report of the UK-led Commission for Africa report is the Africans who will be put in place to handle the money, grants and other forms of aid that will be coming through. I do welcome the assistance but I have a cloud of feeling of betrayal on the part of our leaders to use this aid as prescribed to the letter on how is to be administered. If what my country has been through and larger parts of Africa is anything to go by, the words embezzlement and mismanagement come gushing through my mind.
Paul Mwirigi, Nairobi, Kenya

It is high time Africa was treated as part of the entire world
Otim Emmy, Kampala

I think it is a good idea to set up this Commission to help develop Africa but that does not particularly rule out the fact that the exploitation that Africans underwent in the hands of the British and other European nations during the colonial times. I am simply tired of this selfish tendency to make us feel we really need help and cannot develop without it. That was part of the colonial sciences; to disable us of any meaningful belief that we can do things on our own and instead makes us believe that to develop we need to follow in the footsteps of the western nations.

What the West should be doing now is to give us unconditional grants to compensate for the enormous wealth they forcefully took from Africa to develop their own nations. It is true Africa developed other continents and forgot to develop itself but it's because our useful and most productive labour force was taken away during the infamous slave trade era. This was to become a permanent blow to the African economy.

I am very well aware that Britain particularly does not want to hear this but it remains a scar on students studying the history our dear continent has passed through - not even an apology for the gross human rights violations which would have come before this UK-led Commission for Africa. It is high time Africa was treated as part of the entire world. Why should we always be remembered last and if we are remembered it's only in situations that further push us into being dependent. Africa will one day shine.
Otim Emmy, Kampala, Uganda

Until then this good report will remain to be a diagnosis and the patient Africans will remain on their death bed
Alemante, New York, USA

I am an Ethiopian educated in Ethiopia, Europe and America and a father of three boys. My kids always ask me why Africa especially Ethiopia with so many years of independence cannot provide food and health care for its people? My answer for them is as long as we live in a country run by warlords who chase their educated people fearing for their power.

Regardless of the goodwill from rich countries we will not go there. Mr Blair you know it from your heart some of the leaders who are members of the Commission would not have stayed in power if Africans had a chance to choose their leaders free from intimidation, arbitrary arrest and killings. That is the dilemma of the rich countries. You cannot throw money into those leaders' hands which in fact will secure them to power.

Africans can only use the goodwill of the rich nations if they have a democratic and accountable government. Until then this good report will remain to be a diagnosis and the patient Africans will remain on their death bed.
Alemante, New York, USA

Developing countries would rather spending billions on military and fighting each other than sparing money for people who need water and food.
Efe Miller, UK

Don't give the aid to the African governments please. Bypass these corrupt men and give it directly to those who need it, on the ground. Else things will never change.
Evert, Pretoria, South Africa

The more money we can send to Africa, the more money there will obviously be in Africa. What is done with said money must be very well monitored; more money can very well mean more corruption, if that money should fall into the wrong hands. Even nations whose levels of corruption seemed to be dropping a few months ago (i.e. Kenya) have been struggling with the issue of late. What we need is someone controlling those levels; what we cannot handle is another western occupation of the continent. It is clearly a very difficult situation; money can act only as a band-aid for the deep-seeded problems these nations face.
Sarah Noel, Greensboro, NC, USA

Of course it will. Hope arises through the doors of No.10 Downing Street from the affectionate modern day icons' contribution to the Commission for Africa report. For once we seek the pledge of all our walks of life. Leaders and those within the slums of the African continent can adapt and modify themselves with this publication to bring change and economical success. I think with faith behind it we can migrate ourselves from extreme poverty to moderate inhabitants so that the poor grandmother left with countless infectious grandchildren will never doubt her hope for the future and success of her grandchildren if she kicks the bucket.
Robert Coker, Lilongwe, Malawi

Since 1980s a lot has been said about the poverty in Africa. But the wealthy nation's respond according to their political interest. This time we need to see action rather than words.
Emmanuel Gonda, Canada/Sudan

Africans need to shut the doors to the outside world and hunker down together and find African solutions to African problems
George Dash, Canada

Africa does not need more aid. What she needs is to develop her own indigenous solutions. The IMF and the World Bank have failed. Countless advisers and know-it-alls have offered solutions that have exacerbated the crisis. Africans need to shut the doors to the outside world and hunker down together and find African solutions to African problems. This Commission for Africa band-aid is doomed to failure. Africans need to implement the Union, print their own money, have a single foreign policy and parliament and expel these bloated aid agencies that just hinder instead of helping.
George Dash, Canada

Owing to high corruption levels by some African leaders I suggest that the West finds a way of assisting us the grassroots way first.
Haggai, Sichalwe, Lusaka, Zambia

I welcome the commission to tackle the problems. I'm sure the problem for Africa will come to an end when the African Union has its own parliament laws and its own army. All the nations of earth become rich by their involvement with Africa. Still Africa is the only continent with a lot of mineral resources. Without Africa all factories and industries in the West would stop functioning. My message to Tony Blair is that he should deliver what he has promised.
DR Omosa Protas, Kenya

Open up your market for our goods including jobs
Ananga Erick, Kisumu

Africa doesn't need aid. What we need is equal opportunity in trade and freedom of movement. The West has got complete access to African markets while we don't. Even travelling to Europe for an African is a nightmare due to the visa rules. Open up your market for our goods including jobs.

The other problem of poverty which lies on the side of the Africans is bad governance and illiteracy of leaders. This can be resolved by educating the general public to vote wisely and choose leaders who are concerned with improving their welfare rather than embezzling funds.
Ananga Erick, Kisumu, Kenya

The UK officials are the biggest hypocrites. Before UK takes any step further, its officials should stop supporting terror dictatorships in Africa, Uganda, Rwanda etc. Also Tony Blair should insist that the billions of dollars kept in the UK banks by the Abacha (former Nigeria dictator) family be returned to Nigeria to build hospitals, houses and roads.
Kambale, Goma, DR Congo

Gazillions in aid have been poured into countries in Africa as well as Asia. Many Asian countries have flourished, most African countries haven't. Those countries in Africa that have (South Africa, Ghana and some others) have done so for the same reason that Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia etc have done: because they have relatively competent and relatively incorrupt governments.

Aid had little to do with it. Pumping any more money into the majority of African countries is a waste. Focus on the few that are doing sensible things. As for the others, they need to sort out their internal mess first. The outside world can support that where it's welcome.
Axel Lieber, Tokyo, Japan

If African leaders are truly corrupt then 'Thief-zerland' and other western countries are enablers. No discussion of corruption or underdevelopment of Africa can be complete without discussing where the monies go.
Ebi Bozimo, Nigeria/Atlanta, GA, USA

I strongly oppose the giving of aid in cash to the governments. They are corrupt greedy hyenas who can never bring sustainable development. Instead donors should identify charity projects to do so without going through the governments.
Regina Wanjiku, Nairobi, Kenya

I think the song about Africa's challenges has been sung for too long
Eddie Sibiya, Durban

I think the song about Africa's challenges has been sung for too long. We can identify these challenges and have resources. But if wrong measures are adopted to counter these challenges I do not think history will judge us fairly. Any measures to help this continent must be based on partnership. Let us identify these obstacles and coordinate whatever measures we say are relevant in countering these problems.

The African Union must be involved. I am saying this because some of the problems are attributed to bad governments therefore they must be aware of this. Some of these problems are caused by rich nations who create a conducive environment for bad leaders to prevent development. I do not understand why Swiss banks allow these leaders to use their system to loot this continent. We cannot correct while on the other hand someone is serving his/her interest.

Proper measures must be coordinated by all those are working on these challenges. If China, Russia, France and others did not have interests in Sudan we would not been talking about helping misplaced people but using these resources where they genuinely needed. A UN resolution would have been passed long ago to compel the Sudan's evil leaders to correct their satanic activities.
Eddie Sibiya, Durban, South Africa

I have never met or have been confronted with a more naive perception in my life. The fact of the matter is that Africa's well being is an African problem. Only Africa can correct its problems, not Blair or Brown or any other outside fool.
Chris, Middleburg, RSA

All the dollars in the world will not save the continent because capital flight from unfair debt burdens, unequal trade policies, corruption, western and non western backed kleptocracies is by far greater. What Africa needs is industry and the intellectual capacity to process raw materials into finished goods. The West knows this, and this is precisely why nothing will be done in that respect.

'IMFism' and 'dollarization' are the new enforcers of western imperialist expansion. Asymmetric subsidization regimes between the West and Africa are designed to stifle African industry and make it a ready market for European goods. There is no hope.
Akeem, London

I think Africa is not poor. The only way to stop the misery and poverty cycle is for the wealthy countries to prevent the resources of the continent been looted by African leaders ending up in their banks. Can that be done? Africa does not need aid.
Emmanuel Okley, Oregon, USA

I cannot see that asking African leaders to eradicate corruption will work, since they are the main culprits. Debt cancelling and the lifting of trade barriers should be dependent, country by country, upon how they sort out their corrupt leaderships.
Paul, Oakham, UK

Open your markets for Africa and do it now
Peter Olowo, Kampala

Better said than done. The action must start now if the world feels they owe Africa. As an African, I feel we have a great potential. Let us act fast. Our leaders should create visions for the natural continent. I love Africa but both the developed world and Africa need to act as partners of development and trade. Open your markets for Africa and do it now.
Peter Olowo, Kampala, Uganda

We need daily reports such as this to publicize the African plight. The American government's apathy is very sad, but does not reflect the generosity of the American public. I wish our major media would make this a part of every nightly newscast. Americans will respond, even if their government will not.
William Laney, Faribault, MN, USA

This study has told us nothing that we did not know before. The money wasted on the Commission could have saved the lives of some Africans. I admire the lead that our government is taking to get the debate on the world stage.
M Foulkes, London

How about a crackdown on corruption first, then we'll talk about doubling the aid?
Jennifer, Moscow, Russia

It's great to see people with power acknowledging what debt campaigners have been saying for years. Now let's see the urgent action to match the rhetoric.
Stephen Rand, London, UK

This is loud sounding nonsense, what do you think has changed in the social, economic and political structure underlying the African countries to make you believe that the Commission's findings will be a turning point to poverty in Africa? The same corrupt ruling governments have not changed. Take for example, Uganda. Currently it's a dry season and cattle keepers are loosing their stock at an increasing rate, yet donors had provided funds some time back to construct valley dams only to be swindled by the untouchables in government.
Lukwago Robert, Kampala, Uganda

Savvy people know that there is no coup or rebel gang in Africa without western sponsors/backers seeking access to diamonds, solid minerals and oil
Bola, Newcastle

Any talk of aid under the present trade inequalities and debt burden is nothing but hypocrisy. The so called developed world subsidizes agriculture by $365bn annually while IMF's Structural Adjustment Policies stipulate that African governments remove subsidies. The economic re-colonization of the continent by the IMF is the reality on ground.

It is easy to talk of civil wars and corruption as though Africans are intrinsically incapable of self governance. However, savvy people know that there is no coup or rebel gang in Africa without western sponsors/backers seeking access to diamonds, solid minerals and oil. Nothing has changed from the racial injustices of the past. The world only now pretends as though it's over it.
Bola, Newcastle

In the past, I have heard my country Kenya being given aid form the World Bank, IMF and other bi- and multi-lateral financing agents. I have never felt that aid reaches me or makes any difference in my life. If Tony Blair is serious with his Commission for Africa, let him come and build and tarmac all the roads in the continent without giving any money to the African governments.
Thomas Nyambane, Nairobi, Kenya

Would it not be more prudent to invest in projects that are managed by impartial mediators?
S Lamoureux, Edmonton

It's funny how the developed world can only think in monetary terms for aid. As I read the few comments prior to mine, I have noticed that the citizens that are being targeted for the aid realize that they will probably never get it. Here is where the dilemma begins, you have nations asking for aid, but with no strings attached, more to pocket for the corrupt. Do we as developed (monetary) nations, blindly hand over billions of dollars? Would it not be more prudent to invest in projects that are managed by impartial mediators?

I agree with Thomas of Kenya (above), do not give money to the already fat governments. Invest instead in community projects, education and infrastructure. The so-called governments of Africa have been pillaging their own lands and people for far too long.
S Lamoureux, Edmonton, Canada

Africa is not a poor continent. It is just so badly run by despots and corrupt leaders and a lot of aid ends up in their Swiss bank accounts.
P McCarthy, Bucks, UK

How many times does the world still have to help Africa? These governments just use the money to enrich themselves. The poor people do not benefit. Nothing changes.
Desireé, Pretoria, South Africa

The same photos they showed us on Blue Peter in the 60s¿ now it's 2005 and there is still no water in some villages. Where's it all gone? Bob Geldof can't tell you.
Tom Ormiston, Peeblesm, Scotland

More aid, less corruption, cancel the debt? It took them a year to figure that out? I could have done it in five minutes. We could have started doing something a year ago. This kind of bureaucratic time wasting is a large part of the problem. Why solve something when you are being paid to talk about solving it?
Tom, Norwich, UK

Much of the West owes its wealth to the African countries they exploited for years without reproach. It's great to hear some of that wealth will return to where it is needed the most. It's a start but I believe so much more needs to be done. Africa has such potential yet I wonder whether the world sees that.

My understanding of foreign view is that we are seen as a never-ending black hole, an impoverished continent suffering from Aids, wars and disasters. We are more than that. I don't believe the aid will directly benefit me in any way. But, if it helps alleviate overall suffering, it can only be an advantage to the continent and its people.
Douglas Davies, Johannesburg, South Africa





PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific