Charities and NGOs bring 'big ideas' to African commission

The abolition of patent rights on Aids drugs, a universal minimum pension and a capacity-building fund for African NGOs were among the "big ideas" presented to the Commission for Africa this month by UK charities and NGOs.

Officials from the Commission and members of the umbrella group British Overseas NGOs for Development (Bond) met to discuss how to make a "value-added contribution to Africa's progress".

Bond advocacy officer, Dragan Nastic, commented: "This meeting was a first small step. The UK and other donors like to emphasise African governments' obligations. As civil society organisations, we want to push the debate in two crucial directions - rights-based and socially inclusive development on the one hand and the obligations on donors on the other. The Commission should include those who are usually excluded in the development debate if it wants to break the chain of donor neglect and inappropriate fixes imposed on Africa."

Members of the Commission include Chancellor Gordon Brown, Bob Geldof and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi.

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