U.K. Commission for Africa Report Says Donors ‘Not Paying What They Promised’ To Fight HIV/AIDS
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Commission for Africa on Friday released its report, which criticized international donors for "not paying what they promised" to fight HIV/AIDS, the Financial Times reports (White, Financial Times, 3/11). The 460-page report calls for a doubling of international aid to Africa to $50 billion annually, the removal of trade barriers, debt forgiveness and increased efforts to address poor governance, corruption and war throughout the continent. The report also calls for annual funding for HIV/AIDS to be increased to $10 billion annually within the next five years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/9). In addition, the report urges the international community to bring into line the "current disparate response" to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and asks African nations to allocate 15% of their annual budgets to health services and ensure that there are an additional one million health care workers in Africa by 2015 (Agence France-Presse, 3/10). Blair established the 17-member commission, which has nine African members, in February 2004. The commission, which examined challenges facing the continent and ways to resolve those issues, includes politicians, economists and advocates from Africa and developed nations. The report aims to put Africa in the forefront of the international agenda during the United Kingdom's year as chair of the G8 and during its presidency of the European Union (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/9).
"Let us today pledge to make 2005 the year our eyes opened to the full reality of Africa," Blair said, adding, "To the horror of its daily and preventable death toll, to the grinding misery of so many millions of its people, yet also to the hope that together we can change that reality for the better." The British organization ActionAid said that the recommendations "are an ambitious but realistic agenda for debt, aid, trade, and HIV and AIDS," adding that the "first real test will be whether it is acted upon" at the G8 summit meeting in Scotland in July, Reuters reports (Cawthorne, Reuters, 3/11). "The Commission for Africa has come out with a clear, bold and realistic vision for how Africa and the rest of the world together can bring this continent onto a road of development and prosperity," Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said, adding, "We welcome the priority that the Commission for Africa has given to providing insecticide-treated bed nets and effective malaria drugs, as well as drastically scaling up the battle against HIV/AIDS" (Global Fund release, 3/11).