Hilary Benn, UK's Minister for International Development, Sir Bob Geldof and Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka were welcomed to the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group by chairman, Tony Worthington, MP. The meeting, aimed at briefing British parliamentarians and their guests about the Commission for Africa, was attended by Members of Parliament, the diplomatic community, Aid agencies, representatives of the Africa Diaspora and journalists.
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, one of nine African Commissioners, welcomed the initiative stating that it was an opportunity for the international community and those living within the continent was to help Africa break out the vicious cycle of poverty. It was the only continent that had failed to benefit from globalisation. In fact, Africa had been marginalized and lagged behind the rest of the world.
Stressing the need for greater understanding of the problems of contemporary Africa, Mrs. Tibaijuka tabled the fact that the continent was urbanizing faster than any other and she emphasized the urgent need to tackle the increasing urbanization of poverty.
Hilary Benn announced that Gordon Brown , the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, had announced that, by 2007/8, the United Kingdom would increase its overseas development assistance to reach 0.47 per cent of GDP and that this figure should reach the UN target of 0.7 per cent by 2013.
Sir Bob Geldof informed the audience that the commission is trying to encourage fresh thinking about how to tackle the problems of Africa and the effectiveness of aid. This included running a series of discussions and debates with leading African intellectuals, and friends of the continent, living both within and outside Africa.
The briefing session led to much discussion that ranged from the problems caused by ‘brain drain’ through to how members of the African Diaspora can contribute to the development of the continent. In conclusion, Myles Wickstead, Head of the Commission for Africa Secretariat called for ideas and inputs from Africans, members of the Diaspora and all those concerned about the future of the continent. For further information see: www.commissionforafrica.org .