11 March 2005

Methodist Church welcomes African Commission report

Anthea Cox, Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice "We must not forget that in Africa thousands die each day from preventable causes, while millions of others are held back in poverty. We welcome the initiative behind the Africa Commission as it gives an opportunity to focus debate before the G8 meeting in July, but only if the report leads to delivery of the proposals will it make a real difference to the lives of millions. The recommendations offer much of what is being asked for by the Make Poverty History campaign that is supported by the Methodist Church. In addition the report tackles some key issues such as the need for improved governance, the suggestion of an international Arms trade Treaty and for there to be a permanent United Nations commission to probe the links between resource exploitation and conflict in Africa."

Roy Crowder, Methodist World Church Secretary for Africa, said "It is important that the Commission's report signals strong political will in Britain to commit long term support to collaboration on African development. Earlier comments from some UK politicians that the Commission was 'the last chance for Africa' have caused considerable concern. These words imply that the West might just 'drop' African countries if outcomes did not satisfy it. It is also vital that African development is created through strong partnership between African and Western initiative."

Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs, said "It is commendable that report has tackled the issue of corruption in an upfront and honest way, although some recent media reports claiming that 80% of aid money is wasted are misleading. The report proposes action in developed countries on the UN Convention Against Corruption, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and transparency of Export Credit Agencies. The challenge now is to get commitments from governments to put words into action."

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