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[Dehai-WN] Independent.co.uk: New hope in Africa, says Tony Blair

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 22:02:16 +0100

New hope in Africa, says Tony Blair


Daniel%20Bentley%22%29&displaySearchString=Daniel%20Bentley> Daniel Bentley

Monday 19 March 2012

Tony Blair hailed a "new sense of hope and confidence" about Africa today as
he claimed the continent could end its dependence on aid within a

The former prime minister acknowledged that the challenges posed by poverty
and conflict remained "immense", but stressed there had been significant
advances in economic growth, democracy and leadership.

"Africa is changing for the better, the perceptions of Africa are also
changing for the better," he told The Times CEO Africa Summit in London.

"There is a new sense of hope and confidence, an optimism and an expectation
that is based on evidence not dreams.

"Above all, I am noticing in my frequent visits there that there is a new
generation of leaders in politics, business and civic society who don't
simply have a new competence about how they approach their tasks, but a new
attitude, a new frame of thinking, a new way of looking at their own

Mr Blair, whose Africa Governance Initiative seeks to help the continent's
leaders improve their structures of government, called for a new
relationship between rich and poor countries in the provision of aid.

"African countries must be in the driving seat of their own development,
setting the priorities and making the decisions," he said.

"Where aid is needed, it should get behind these priorities and use and
strengthen the government's own systems.

"I believe, with the right kinds of support and the right policies, Africa
can be free of dependence on aid within a generation."

He said the latest generation of African leaders realised that the "destiny"
of their continent would be determined by their own efforts, rather than
"passively" receiving aid from richer nations.

Mr Blair said the biggest obstacle to African development was governance, an
"utterly fundamental" need for countries wanting to attract investment.

"This is not only about transparency - that is, honest government -
important though that is. It is also about effective government," he said.

He also warned that improvements were needed in infrastructure, particularly
power, and increased levels of foreign investment, better education and
freer markets within Africa.

"The new Africa needs a new approach from African leaders, from the
development community, and from the private sector," he said.

"For African leaders, the opportunity is there truly to transform their
countries. To get there they must set out a clear, and ambitious vision for
the development of their countries, and, crucially, build their systems of
government to deliver it."

He insisted Africa was a "great" place for private investors to put their
money, saying "the returns are there, the trajectory is positive".

"Investment done right holds the key to Africa's future," he said.

Marie Staunton, chief executive of aid agency Plan UK, said: "The key to
growth is that it benefits all, even the poorest. That's why it needs to be
accompanied by good governance.

"Only then can communities ensure they have access to health care, to
education, to all the building blocks of development.

"Effective states are crucial in ensuring the effective delivery of national
development policies, as well as creating an enabling environment for
private sector driven growth.

"Strong national level governance must be accompanied by mechanisms that
enable citizens, including children and young people, to participate in
decision-making processes and to hold government to account for the delivery
of essential services at the community level."


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