Five months of talks must win over G8 members

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Tony Blair will today present a blueprint for change by his Commission for Africa that challenges rich countries to double development aid, remove trade barriers and crack down on the corruption that has blighted the continent's growth.

Tony Blair will today present a blueprint for change by his Commission for Africa that challenges rich countries to double development aid, remove trade barriers and crack down on the corruption that has blighted the continent's growth.

The commission's report paves the way for five months of tough negotiations before Mr Blair hosts the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles in July. Helping Africa and climate change are the two main themes of the summit, to be attended by the leaders of Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Russia.

The comprehensive reform programme "offers the best chance in a generation to help get Africa back on track," a senior British official said, while admitting that implementing the commission's proposals, particularly its call to raise $25bn (£13bn) in aid annually for Africa over the next three years, will be an uphill struggle without support from the US, which has rejected the funding mechanism endorsed by the commission.

Aid agencies, which generally welcomed the reform package, challenged Mr Blair and his Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to make changes to British policy where it conflicts with the commission's conclusions on trade, aid and debt.

Outlining its reform package, the commission says an additional $75bn a year will be needed to finance improvements in governance, public investment and social spending in Africa. "There is no prospect of Africa paying for this alone," it says.

The commission proposes a two-stage approach, with one-third financed by African states while donor countries would provide two-thirds of the resources by increasing aid to $25bn annually over the next three to five years. At that point, progress would be reviewed. "Subject to improvements in Africans' managerial and administrative capacity, and improvements in the way aid is delivered, we would recommend a further increase in aid of $25bn a year," the report says.

The commission endorses Mr Brown's proposed international finance facility as the best way to ensure the "frontloading" of aid, a scheme that has been snubbed by the US. The Chancellor is said to be hopeful that the US can still be won round.

The commission also calls for reciprocal measures to stamp out corruption, saying firms that bribe should be refused export credits. "Attention must focus on the bribe-giver as well as the bribe-taker," it says.

It also demands the restitution of assets to countries whose former dictators had squirrelled away billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts, an issue on which "the Swiss have done rather better than the UK", a commission source said.

Aid agencies generally welcomed the Commission's recommendations. Cafod's head of policy, George Gelber, said: "If the suggested increases in aid were delivered then it would have a massive impact on poverty in Africa."

But the relief organisations also challenged the Blair government to put its own house in order. "Britain's own performance in stamping out corruption is not good," said Andrew Pendleton of Christian Aid. "The Government is only investigating four out of 40 cases of bribery by companies and not one has led to prosecution."

WHAT AFRICA MUST DO

Good Governance

* Vastly improve its civil service from staff training to policy

* Eradicate all corruption

* Open budgetary processes to show how money is raised and how it is spent

* Use parliaments, media, courts and society to make governments answerable to their people

Aid

* Aid money should only be used for programmes that alleviate poverty or promote economic growth that benefits poor people

Health and Education

* Abolish fees in schools, clinics and hospitals

* Increase the amount spent on health and education

* Stop excluding girls from school and get more into higher education

* Train a million extra doctors

* Improve sexual health, pay those who take in Aids orphans

Economic Growth

* Cut red tape to encourage more investment in Africa

* Place more emphasis on agriculture

* Help small enterprises.

* Ensure that women and young people (half the population are under 15) are not excluded from new initiatives

Trade

* Improve transport to make goods cheaper to move

* Reduce and simplify the tariff systems between African nations

* Reform excessive bureaucracy and cumbersome customs practices, and root out corruption by public servants

* Make it easier to set up firms

WHAT RICH NATIONS MUST DO

Good Governance

* Build up Africa's public services rather than bypass them

* Force Western banks to returnmoney stolen by corrupt leaders to Africa and to report on suspicious new accounts

* Refuse export credits to firms that bribe

Aid

* Double aid by 2010

* Give more grants, not loans

* Make aid more predictable

* Do not demand aid is used to buy goods or services from donor

* Make accounting and monitoring quicker and cheaper

* Treble aid by 2015

Health and Education

* Fund rebuilding of crumbling health and education systems

* Increase spending on HIV/Aids

* Create inducements for the pharmaceutical industry to develop drugs for African diseases

* Reverse 25 per cent decline in aid for clean water and sanitation

Economic Growth

* Support African Union's programme to build public/private partnerships to create a stronger climate for growth, investment and jobs

* Double spend on infrastructure such as roads, rail, irrigation, power and information technology

Trade

* Fund the measures above

* Stop subsidising European and US farmers to dump their surpluses in Africa

* Scrap or greatly reduce taxes and tariffs on African goods

* Stop demanding reciprocal concessions from poor countries

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