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27.07.2004 General News

Commission for Africa must be British owned - Ghanaians

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Accra, July 27, GNA - A group of prominent Ghanaians, meeting with the British High Commission in Accra on Tuesday asked the British Government to institutionalise the Commission for Africa to give it continuity.

The group made up of Academics, Legal Experts and Senior Journalists pointed out that it would be better if the Commission were established by an Act of the British Parliament to ensure that the Commission survived even if the current British Prime Minister Tony Blair left office.

This was the outcome of a forum the British High Commission in Ghana held to discuss Mr Tony Blair's Commission for Africa launched in February this year, which set up a 17-member Commission made up of prominent people including nine Africans. The Commissioners formally began their work in May.

The British Prime Minister's initiative is to provide a coherent set of policies to accelerate progress towards a strong and prosperous Africa. The Commission would report in spring 2005, including recommendations to the G8, the European Union and other wealthy countries as well as African countries.

Mr Gordon Wetherell, British High Commissioner, introducing the forum to the aims of the Commission said now that the Mr Blair was the President of the G8 and EU he was in advantageous position to help Africa achieve accelerated growth.

He said: "The timing of the Commission's work is intended to seize 2005 as an opportunity to make a difference for Africa. 2005 will see the coincidence of the United Kingdom's chairmanship of both the G8 and, in the second half of the year, the European Union, with Africa high on both agenda".

The implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals, with the knowledge that the goals would not be met in Africa by the 2015 deadline unless there were new ideas and action, Mr Wetherell said.

He said: "The Commission's work will take a fresh look at Africa's past and, present and the international community's role, in order to agree on clear recommendations for the future"

The High Commissioner said: The 2005 review of the Millennium Development Goals - commitments made by the world to achieve change by 2015 - will show that some of the goals will not be met in Africa until 2150 on current rates of progress"; hence the need for other impetus such as the Commission for Africa.

About 20 Ghanaians who participated in the forum included, Mr Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Mr Sam Okudzeto both legal luminaries, Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Dr Baffour Agyeman-Duah, Associate Director of Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Nana Essilfie Conduah, Mr Haruna Attah, Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo all Senior Journalists.

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