Response to The Guardian’s article on Tony Blair's Global Legacy AwardTuesday, Nov 25, 2014 in Office of Tony Blair
An article published today by The Guardian about the Global Legacy Award presented to Tony Blair by Save the Children US, conveniently disregards the facts that support the award as well as quotes from African Presidents, the head of USAID and indeed anything which would give a more balanced view than the one presented.
The award was in recognition of Tony Blair’s work in leading G8 nations at Gleneagles in 2005 to pledge to double aid to Africa and provide 100% debt relief to eligible countries, as well as his ongoing work in partnership with African governments through his Foundation, the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI).
The AGI is helping some of the world’s poorest people and is today working in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Guinea, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
It is extraordinary that while ignoring the body of work undertaken by Tony Blair, the AGI and the people they work alongside in African governments, the views of President Koroma and President Sirleaf, who after all are the very people who have first-hand experience of their efforts, the article also sought to traduce the reputation of Save the Children, and was neither balanced nor fair.
Tony Blair’s work in Africa:
1997 – Set-up of Department for International Development: Creating an independent ministry with a cabinet-level minister. DFID now employs 2,700 staff who are working directly in 28 countries to end global poverty.
2000 – Deployment of British forces to Sierra Leone: The humanitarian intervention in Sierra Leone was crucial to resolving the civil conflict. Tony Blair was made honorary Paramount Chief in the village of Mahera in Sierra Leone in 2007.
2002 – The International Development Act became law putting international development higher on the national agenda and clarifying the purpose of aid spending as poverty reduction
2004 – Launch of the Commission for Africa. 2005 report by the Commission set out 90 recommendations to accelerate Africa’s development and established a blueprint for action for the G8 nations. It resulted in some of the following:
- Foreign investment in Africa and exports of African goods has quadrupled
- Enabled access to the anti-retroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS
- Doubling previous levels of aid for basic education
- Trained 20,000 more African peacekeepers
- Tighter controls on the trade in small arms
2005 – G8 nations commit to increased aid spending at Gleneagles Summit.
- G8 nations agreed to boost aid for developing countries by US$ 50 billion
- 100% of the outstanding debt owned by the world’s poorest countries was dropped
- UK committed to increase aid spending to 0.7% of GNI by 2013, which was achieved in March 2013
2008 – Creation of Africa Governance Initiative. AGI is supporting six African leaders to bridge the gap between their vision for a better future and their government’s ability to achieve it. They have:
- Worked alongside Rwandan public servants to unlock access to electricity for over a million Rwandans.
- Assisted the delivery of an economic plan which led to a new railway connecting two of Nigeria’s biggest cities – Kano and Lagos.
- Worked with President Sirleaf to train a new generation of Liberian civil servants.
- Used our expertise as part of a Rwandan government scheme to boost the agricultural sector, halving crop losses for some Rwandan farmers and securing 3% growth across the sector.
- Supported a scheme in Sierra Leone to double rice crops in parts of the country and improve farmer's access to markets.
- Worked to execute Liberia’s 150 day plan which saw 250 Kilometres of new rural roads in Liberia.
- Supported ministers to halve the time it takes to get goods through of one Nigeria’s biggest ports.
- Working shoulder to shoulder with governments to manage the response to Ebola in West Africa.
For more information on AGI's work, visit: www.africagovernance.org