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Africa needs billions more in aid

Africa needs billions more in aid to tackle poverty, an international group said today.

Countries across the world need to commit to giving billions more pounds in aid to Africa to reduce poverty and help the continent face new challenges, said The Africa Commission.

The continent has made ‘extraordinary progress’ in the past five years since the body set up by ex Prime Minister Tony Blair first laid out a set of recommendations to drive forward development.

There has been dramatic economic growth and a surge in trade and investment, a lot of which has come from countries such as China and India, and their demand for African natural resources.

But still the vast majority of Africans have not benefited from its recent success and new challenges, such as climate change and the economic crisis, meaning reducing poverty is becoming more of a challenge, the commission warned.

Despite success stories, such as more children than ever before going to primary school and more sleeping under mosquito nets to protect them from malaria, the report points out that the number of undernourished children has hardly changed in 20 years.

The Group of 20 advanced and developing nations, the main economic forum for world leaders, should take on responsibility for providing long-term aid to Africa, and this aid should be increased, it said. Previously, this was something the Group of Eight rich nations took charge of.

"The G20 should take on the G8's previous role in making and monitoring commitments to supporting growth and development in Africa," said a report by the commission and commit to increasing aid to Africa from 2010 to a £16bn a year by 2015, it said.

The report comes out ahead of a summit in New York next week to review the Millennium Development Goals, a set of poverty reducing targets first set out at the millennium summit in 2000.

The Commission said that, despite the progress sub-Saharan Africa was not on track to meet the goals.

"Economic growth and trade have been damaged by the global economic crisis,” it said.

"Climate change and rising food prices will make poverty reduction more challenging in many parts of the continent."

The Commission for Africa, also called the Blair Commission for Africa, was set up by the British government in spring 2004. Members include former Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, South African Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Botswana central bank governor Linah Mohohlo, and musician and Live Aid organiser, Bob Geldof.

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