Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) SARPN thematic photo
Regional themes > Poverty reduction frameworks and critiques Last update: 2020-11-27  

ActionAid International

The African Commission for Britain
Ten actions Britain must take to support Africa’s development

ActionAid International

Posted with the permission of ActionAid. ActionAid website:
[Download complete version - 619Kb ~ 3 min (12 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]


  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Stop forcing African countries to open their markets
  4. Stop export dumping
  5. Reach the 0.7% aid target by 2010
  6. Stop tying economic policy conditions to aid
  7. Cancel un-payable debts
  8. Ensure access to free and comprehensive treatment for all people living with HIV and AIDS
  9. Stop UK corporations from undermining basic rights
  10. Cut carbon emissions
  11. Work to prevent and resolve armed conflict
  12. Stop supporting bribery and corruption in Africa
  13. Conclusions


In March 2005, the ‘Commission for Africa’ will unveil its ‘Action Plan for a Strong and Prosperous Africa.’ Under the chairmanship of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the 17 Commissioners, half of them from outside Africa, will outline their plans for African development. Blair, who will also chair the G8 and the European Union this year, hopes that the Commission report will generate the political will to deliver a new deal for Africa in 2005.

The African Commission for Britain, an all- African panel of ActionAid International staff, has developed its own set of recommendations. We believe that for Britain, the first step in supporting African development must be to do no harm. The UK has yet to take this step. Dumped exports from British farmers still depress farm prices in Africa, putting poor farmers out of business. UK carbon emissions contribute to climate change, causing natural disasters across the region. UK companies continue to violate basic rights and the environment, while arms exports from British companies still fuel widespread conflict.

As Africans working with poor people across the continent, we know that change in Africa is urgently needed. Governments must become more accountable and less corrupt. Conflicts must end. Education, health and other basic services must improve, and be made more widely available.

While we know that real change in Africa must be led by Africans, we also know that some of the greatest obstacles to change lie outside the region. Africa has been the supposed beneficiary of no fewer than 10 ambitious development plans in the past three decades, many of them written outside the continent. But grand plans and grand statements rarely work. Too many of the ‘African initiatives’ have started from the assumption that the ‘West knows best.’ Donors apply conditions to force African governments into following ‘sound’ policies. Trade negotiations lock African countries into a free trade model that rich countries didn’t follow themselves.

Ultimately, people must be free to choose their own path to development. History tells us that all too often the West does not know best, particularly about what works in Africa. Africa does need external support, including funding, but this must enable implementation of its own development strategies, both nationally and through regional bodies such as the African Union (AU).

The UK government is right to stress that the rich world must take action for Africa in 2005. It is right to show leadership in ensuring that African issues are top of the political agenda. But just as charity begins at home, so does justice. This report sets out 10 things that we believe that the UK must do in order to support, rather than undermine, Africa’s development. All 10 are achievable; all 10 could be delivered in 2005. And all 10 are things that we, the African Commission for Britain, believe are essential if we are to deliver justice for Africa in 2005.

Taaka Awori
Country Director, ActionAid Ghana,
On behalf of the African Commission for Britain.

Octoplus Information Solutions Top of page | Home | Contact SARPN | Disclaimer