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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 11:50 GMT
Action urged on new Africa report
A Ugandan woman holding her baby in a hospital waiting area
The summit focuses on the work of the Commission For Africa
Band Aid founder Bob Geldof has told a conference the world's governments must act to make the final Report from the Commission for Africa "a reality".

The report, released this month, found the condition of Africa to be "an affront to the dignity of all mankind".

It made a number of recommendations for changing the situation, including doubling their aid to the continent to $50bn (26bn) a year.

Its findings have already been accepted by the UK government as policy.

"It has to move from a shiny book to a glowing reality," Geldof told the BBC's Africa 2015 conference in London.

"It is our duty to do this."

Debt, trade and aid

2005 is widely seen as a breakthrough year for Africa, with major world events focusing on the continent.

I do not want to see or hear again that we knew this. We did not
Bob Geldof
These includes the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July, and the 20th anniversary of Live Aid.

Geldof referred to the report's content, saying: "I do not want to see or hear again that we knew this. We did not."

He called for major attention to what he called Africa's "big three" issues - debt, trade and aid.

Robert Guest, the Africa editor of the UK's Economist magazine, warned that for the recommendations in the report to take effect, the governments of all major economic powers would have to act.

"The report is a starting point," he said. "We don't have commitments yet."

Lord Puttnam, the president of the UK branch of the UN children's fund Unicef, outlined a total of seven "practical steps" to help Africa.

These included debt relief in addition to aid, child-focused action, and "dramatic action" on HIV and Aids.

Negative images

BBC Chairman Michael Grade, who described the report as raising "profound questions," said the media was partially to blame for a lack of investment in Africa.

Negative images of the continent as "a large, risky country" were deterring businesses from setting up there, he stated.

But he said he hoped that a forthcoming BBC series on Africa could help to address this.

He also pointed out that the media is essential in Africa's fight against corruption, as it has the power to "hold those in power to account."

"Free and independent media empower their audience," he added.


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