‘New ideas and actions for a strong and prosperous Africa’ – that is what Tony Blair’s
Africa Commission was aiming at in its Report of March this year. Did it succeed?
Truly fresh ideas were always going to be a tall order. But what the Commission could
reasonably have expected to achieve is a synthesis of the best current thinking on how
to turn around Africa’s development. Getting the G8 to act with new vigour on the
range of known remedies for the continent’s chronic sicknesses is a sufficiently
inspiring objective on its own.
By this standard, how does the Report measure up? The answer has to be ‘good
but could have done better’. There are many excellent and some innovative things in it.
There are also some quite significant blind spots and missed opportunities.
* Group Co-ordinator and Research Fellow, Poverty and Public Policy Group, Overseas Development
Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JD, UK (email@example.com).