What the Commission said about: Investing in People

The Commission for Africa’s chapter on ‘Investing in People‘ covered a wide range of topics relevant to development – health, education, HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and help to the most vulnerable. The chapter called for external aid to all these areas to prioritise African countries’ own capacity to deliver effective basic services, such as health, education, water and sanitation.

On education, it recommended that African governments develop national action plans on how they were going to improve education in their countries, including how they would get more girls into school. It also called upon them to improve enrolment in basic education by both boys and girls by removing school fees and to improve the quality of education by training and retaining more teachers. Donors should support this, said the report, by providing an additional $7-8 billion each year for education in Africa.

The impact of preventable diseases, such as malaria, on Africa has been particularly severe. The chapter called upon both donors and African governments to increase investment in building the systems that could deliver effective public health services to tackle these diseases. It recommended that African governments meet their commitment to allocate 15% of their annual budgets to health and that donors increase their funding to support African health strategies by an additional $10 billion a year.

It also said that African leaders should promote women’s and men’s right to sexual and reproductive health – women’s access to reproductive health services being particularly important to reducing maternal mortality.

The chapter also included the recommendation that donors support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, and that they work together with African governments to ensure that every pregnant mother and child has access to an insecticide-treated bednet to prevent malaria. On HIV/AIDS, it called for an increase in donor support by an additional $10 billion a year, but in this area, as in other areas of health, it highlighted the need for support to be integrated so as to be effective.

For years donors support to water and sanitation had been declining – report demanded that this be reversed. It also recommended that African governments do more to help orphans and vulnerable children – the number of which had increased severely due to HIV/AIDS.

A lot has happened in all of these areas since 2005. Our report in September will look in more detail at what has happened in the past five years.

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