A HISTORY OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission for Africa was launched by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in February 2004. The aim of the Commission was to take a fresh look at Africa's past and present and the international community's role in its development path. The work set out to be comprehensive and challenging, addressing difficult questions where necessary. Five formal objectives were established to guide the Commission's work. It was tasked with finalising its report by early 2005 and producing clear recommendations for the G8, EU and other wealthy countries as well as African countries.
The Commission was established to respond to positive changes taking place on the continent, such as the leadership shown by the AU and NEPAD, and also seize on the political and symbolic opportunity that 2005 presented to make a difference for Africa. 2005 sees the coincidence of the United Kingdom's chairmanship of both the G8 and, in the second half of the year, the European Union. The Prime Minister has made Africa, together with Climate Change, the focus of both. In September 2005 the United Nations convenes the first major summit to review implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals knowing that despite progress in certain areas the goals will not be met in Africa by the 2015 deadline unless there are new ideas and action. 2005 is the 20 th anniversary of Live Aid and the 25 th anniversary of the publication of the seminal Brant Commission report "North-South".
How was the Commission made up?
There are 17 members of the Commission. All are working in an independent capacity. Most of the Commissioners are from Africa and all are active and influential in the differing spheres of work and expertise. Commissioners were supported in their work by a Secretariat based in London.
How did the Commission structure its work?
The members of the Commission met formally three times prior to the publication of its report. At the first meeting on 4 May 2004 the Commission's objectives were agreed and the work divided into six principal thematic areas: the economy, natural resources, governance, peace & security, human development and culture and participation. Different Commissioners were tasked with leading the work on different themes.
At the second meeting in Addis Ababa on 7 and 8 October 2004 progress was reviewed and Commissioners agreed to share their emerging conclusions in a Consultation Document.
At the third meeting on 24 February 2005 Commissioners reflected on the extensive consultation exercise, agreed final amendments to the report and discussed possible mechanisms for how future progress in Africa could be monitored following its publication.
Outside these full Commission meetings the Commissioners actively consulted and presented their work in a wide range of international forums and events. The extensive consultation programme included a series of major consultation events in Africa and elsewhere in the world, a number of popular online forums and the analysis of hundreds of written submissions. The Commission worked very closely with the AU and NEPAD in its consultations and in the preparation of its report.
The Commission's final report was published on 11 March 2005.