Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Blair in Africa aid reliance claim

Tony Blair is to claim no African state will require high levels of funding if leaders in the developed and developing worlds showed enough political will

Africa can be free of its dependence on international aid within a generation, Tony Blair is set to claim.

Overseas aid makes up the majority of government spending in areas like Sierra Leone and Liberia, paying for basics such as clean water.

But the former prime minister will argue that no African state will require high levels of funding if leaders in the developed and developing worlds showed enough political will.

Mr Blair, patron of the Africa Governance Initiative, will tell the Overseas Development Institute conference that the "rich world" needs to open up its markets to help grow Africa's private sector.

In an article for the Huffington Post website to coincide with the event, he said: "The international community must take this desire for aid independence seriously.

"I believe that within a generation, no African country need be dependent on aid. Of course this is a hugely ambitious goal.

"But it is attainable with the right thinking and enough political will - from leaders in both the developed and developing worlds.

"It may seem perverse to talk about ending aid dependency while the British public is responding so generously to the famine in the Horn of Africa, and while aid is doing so much good in many parts of the world. I believe in aid. I am proud of the changes we made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005 - doubling aid to Africa and delivering debt relief."

The Africa Governance Initiative works in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia

It draws on Mr Blair's prime ministerial experience to offer advice to leaders as well as using teams in each country to carry out work on the ground.

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