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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mission Impossible: A Critique of the Commission for Africa
Author:Hurt, Stephen R.
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:development cooperation
political economy
Politics and Government
Inter-African Relations
Abstract:The report of the Commission for Africa (CfA), entitled 'Our Common Interest', was launched at the British Museum on March 11, 2005. It is the latest in a long line of official blueprints for the continent's development. At the launch, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair suggested there was a clear moral reason for change in Africa, and the rhetoric of the CfA reinforces the view that what Africa needs is help from the West. However, the portrayal of Africa's plight as a moral crisis often disguises the structural and political causes of the current state of affairs. The present paper seeks to redress this balance by focusing on the political economy of the CfA report. It explores the key proposals of the report and argues that the overall framework outlined in it is broadly representative of the emerging post-Washington consensus. The paper concludes by discussing whether Blair's mission will succeed, or whether it will remain a 'mission impossible' on two levels: at the practical level of implementation, given the need to both persuade other G8 governments to formulate policy based on its recommendations and to implement the necessary alterations to existing UK policy towards Africa; and, more importantly, with regard to its failings at the analytical level, given both the structural constraints of the global political economy and the limitations of some of the recommendations in the report. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]