Tony Blair’s Love for Africa is deep-rooted in his belief that the continent has a lot to offer to the world and the time is right for all to discover Africa’s huge potential, possibilities and challenges. According to him. in setting Africa’s aid and development policies, the international community should work with the continent as a partnership of equals to build the ability of the continent to run its own affairs His commitment to the continent has long been one geared to end the suffering of its people. Just before leaving office as one of the most successful British Prime Minister ever, Tony Blair established the Commission for Africa, to generate ideas and action that will accelerate and sustain Africa’s growth and development, leading to a strong and prosperous continent. During the civil war in Sierra Leone that left thousands of people dead and maimed, the then British Prime Minister personally intervened to end the crisis by sending troops to Sierra Leone against stiff opposition from some in the House of Commons who didn’t think at the time that Sierra Leone was that much a priority to risk the lives of British troops. But against all the odds, Tony Blair insisted that it was indeed in the interest of Britain that Sierra Leone should be liberated from the tyranny of the rebels led by the ruthless Foday Sankoh.
British Forces succeeded in repelling the rebel attacks and returned the country to a peaceful state. The African Governance initiative is a clear extension of Tony Blair’s vision to see a world free of corruption and bad governance. He knows full well the effects of mismanaging a country’s economy, as during his tenure he had to deal with some of the most corrupt African leaders who he admonished constantly to introduce accountability and good government, free of corruption, as a way to secure not only British financial assistance but international aid.
Tony Blair established the Africa Governance Initiative as a new way of working with African countries, equipping visionary African leaders with the capacity to deliver on their reform agendas, tackle poverty and attract sustainable investment. The initiative is underpinned by two key principles: First, that without progress on governance – and in particular the development of effective government systems and visionary political leadership – all other reforms will have limited effect in reducing poverty across the continent; Second, that developing a thriving private sector through investment and reform is the only way to creating sustainable development that will move Africa “beyond aid”.
According to Mr Blair, the African Governance Initiative has created a unique model of development, combining his unparalleled experience with expert on-the-ground teams working full-time alongside government counterparts. They work with countries – currently Sierra Leone and Rwanda – that are at potential turning-points, where a tragic past has left a lack of capacity and deep poverty, but where there is clear potential leaders with the vision and political will to achieve progress.
Tony Blair’s view is that Africa’s underdevelopment has long attracted external support and aid to address chronic issues of poverty and human development. The African Governance Initiative complements existing efforts by working with African governments themselves at the highest levels, building the capacity for effective governance that will allow those governments to drive their own development agendas, whilst at the same time helping them to generate sustainable private sector development that can develop and grow their economies away from aid dependence.
Recently the government of Liberia under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have extended an invitation to the AGI to help provide necessary guidance as the country embarks on a new political and economic direction. This is a clear endorsement of the fine work, the former British Prime Minister is already doing across the continent, Tony Blair must be applauded to take time off his extremely busy schedule as the Quartet’s Middle East Envoy, to have a hands on in the good governance of African countries. We urge other African countries to follow the wise step the Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma and Rwandese President Paul Kagame have taken alongside the recent invitation from Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to introduce good governance in their respective countries that will turn things round for their people.
To learn more about Tony Blair’s work around the world, Please visit www.tonyblairoffice.org
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