Synthesis documents

Commission for Africa Report 2005

    'Our Common Interest' was published in March 2005 by the Commission for Africa, an organization launched by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in February 2004. The report calls for action by African nations and the developed world to reduce poverty and stagnation in Africa. The specific actions proposed by the Commission constitute a coherent package for Africa and can be categorized as follows: 1.) progress in governance and capacity building, 2.) greater peace and security, 3.) improved health and education systems, 4.) a program for growth that builds public/private partnerships, invests in infrastructure, and emphasizes agriculture and small enterprise development, and 5.) more and fairer trade. To finance the actions, the Commission calls for and additional $25 billion per year in aid, to be implemented by 2010, and a possible further $25 billion per year by 2015. The report concludes that a new kind of development, based on mutual respect and rooted in a sound analysis of what actually works, is needed to speed up progress in Africa.

    In terms of small enterprise development, the report emphasizes the importance of improving the enabling environment for small enterprises. The authors recommend that each government in Africa should develop a small enterprise development strategy. Because of their limited resources, small enterprises suffer more than bigger firms from a weak investment climate. The report sets out a proposal to support AU/NEPAD's Investment Climate Facility. For the informal economy, this starts by giving small enterprises a voice in the policy process and securing and extending their rights over assets. The authors recommend that developed countries set up a US$100 million Africa Challenge Fund to support private sector initiatives that contribute to enterprise development by giving them better access to markets. The Fund will encourage new partnerships in the financial and non-financial sectors and contribute to the African Union's objectives of promoting job creation for young people and women's entrepreneurship.