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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 09:53 GMT
Geldof backs Africa commission
Bob Geldof
The commission will be a "spear point for action" - Bob Geldof.
A Commission for Africa could help to "resuscitate" the continent, says aid campaigner Bob Geldof.

Geldof says Africa is in a worse condition than 20 years ago when he organised the Band Aid record.

The commission, announced on Thursday by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, will seek to address the continent's problems with hunger and disease.

The forum will not just be a "talking shop", said Geldof, who suggested the idea of a commission to Mr Blair.

Piece-meal efforts

"Anything that keeps the problem at the forefront of the political mind is extremely useful," Geldof told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

There is a totality of decline in the continent of Africa that is unique. Since I first got involved 20 years ago, it's got worse
Bob Geldof

But he emphasised the extent of the problem and how development efforts had struggled.

"There is a totality of decline in the continent of Africa that is unique. Since I first got involved 20 years ago, it's got worse."

Geldof said that he had returned from his last visit to Africa feeling "dismayed".

"Despite everyone's best efforts, and the amount of money that is going in - everything is piecemeal. You can be doing your best to combat Aids, to tackle trade tariffs, but if the producers are being taken out of the society by a disease, then all your efforts are being wasted," said the rock star.

'Scar on the conscience'

But he hoped that the commission would become "a spear point for action" which would be backed by political support.

UK PM Tony Blair
Campaigner Bob Geldof
Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi
South African finance minister Trevor Manuel
UK Chancellor Gordon Brown

Announcing the commission at his monthly press conference, Mr Blair said the new body, which would include opinion formers such as Geldof, would take an overview of the problems facing the continent.

"I have decided with others to form a Commission for Africa to take a fresh look at Africa's past, present and future," said Mr Blair.

"It will be a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Africa and policies toward Africa - what has worked, what has not worked and what more can and should be done."

"I have said on many occasions that I believe Africa is the scar on the conscience of the world," said Mr Blair.

Blair launches Africa commission
26 Feb 04  |  Africa

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