The Commission for Africa is a UK-led initiative, launched by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in February 2004, to take a fresh look at the challenges Africa faces in the 21st century. The Commission aims to generate increased support for NEPAD, and to build momentum for the UK's G-8 Summit in Gleneagles and its presidency of the European Union in 2005. The Commission's final report was released on March 11, 2005.
The Commission is composed of 17 Commissioners, 9 of whom hail from Africa. The Commissioners work in a personal capacity, not as representatives of states.
Canada's Minister of Finance Ralph Goodale was asked to join the Commission for Africa as co-chair of the Economy theme, which includes development finance, economic growth and trade. His co-chairs are the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, and the South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel.
As commissioner, Minister Goodale emphasized the role of the private sector in Africa's development as well as the immediate need to remove the burdens of debt and infectious disease in Africa.
The Commission for Africa report complements the long-standing priority Canada has attached to Africa. The Report's key messages - that Africa must take the lead in its own development, and that developed countries can make a difference - are core elements of Canada's approach to its partnerships with Africa. Building on previous commitments, Canada's current programs and priorities reflect a number of areas identified in the Report. For example, in Budget 2005, the Government of Canada restated its commitment to double aid to Africa between 2003-04 and 2008-09. It also announced an additional $342 million for health (polio eradication, vaccines and immunization, and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria), $172 million over five years for debt relief, and $500 million over five years for peace and security, all of which will primarily benefit Africa.