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Last Updated: Friday February 18 2005 17:46 GMT

Tony Blair talks to Newsround

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Prime Minister Tony Blair hopes 2005 will be the year we really start to make an impact on African poverty.

He talked to Newsround to let us know why, what has been done and what we can do to help.

Here's his full interview:

Newsround: What do you hope the world can do for Africa in 2005?

Tony Blair: "What the world can do is to put together a plan for Africa.

You see Africa's not just got one problem, it's got a lot of problems. It's got diseases like aids and malaria, it's got wars that kill a lot of people.

Sometimes it's got governments that are corrupt and bad.

And it's got big problems because African countries aren't given the rights to sell goods in wealthier countries in the way that they should be able to.

Tony Blair and Bono
Tony Blair has met lots of people to discuss Africa
And obviously they need our help in money terms.

So what we need to do is put all this together in a plan - and get it agreed with the African countries - and then get it done."

NR: What can we do to solve the debt poor countries have?

TB: "It is complicated. Britain has cancelled all our debt for the poorest countries in the world.

"There are four million kids in Uganda that have got an education they didn't have before as a result of the debt cancellation.

"Now we've got to get more countries doing that.

"The tragedy of Africa is that it's a rich place with poor people. They've got things that those countries could make a lot of money out of - if there weren't things like wars and so on.

"One of the things we've got to do is train up African peacekeepers so that when we try to solve these conflicts, people can keep the peace there. And then the countries can grow."

Ellie Crisell and Tony Blair
Ellie asked what Britain was doing to help
NR: Why do you think Africa has so many problems?

TB:"If Africa was on the doorstep of Europe, we'd be doing something about it.

"But it's thousands of miles away and people ask: 'Is it something to do with me?' The answer is, in the end it is."

NR: Why do kids need to get involved?

TB: "You need people to be involved. Not just politicians, but people to be involved.

"And not just in this country but in other countries too - so there's this great pressure that comes down on the whole system to act.

"Because Britain has got the leadership of this body of the most powerful countries in the world this year, I'm going to make this a big issue

"Now that's great but I actually need people to be pressing governments not just in this country but in other countries so that we make the commitments on aid, trade and debt and all the rest of it."



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