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‘This will be Africa’s century’: Tony Blair calls for renewed focus on governance to drive Africa’s post-Covid recovery in live broadcast to global investors

Press Release – For immediate release – 7/07/2020

‘This will be Africa’s century’: Tony Blair calls for renewed focus on governance to drive Africa’s post-Covid recovery in live broadcast to global investors

In a live broadcast to investors and private sector leaders hosted by Invest Africa yesterday, Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, called for a renewed focus on governance to drive Africa’s post-Covid recovery. Speaking to Carol Pineau of Africa-USA Now, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom highlighted the quality of governance as the key determiner of a country’s success. When it comes to governance, he said, “there’s no mystery. It is clear what works and what doesn’t.’ The real challenge lies in implementation – it is not enough to have the systems of democracy; countries must also embody its spirit through the creation of effective and independent institutions.

The African response to Covid-19 has shown promising signs in this regard, with quick action taken around airport and border closures, willingness to adapt drugs to Covid-19 treatment and the creation by the African Union of a purchasing platform for essential supplies. “The new generation of African leadership”, he observed, “is very determined that their objective should be to change the relationship between Africa and the outside world.”

However, Mr. Blair pointed out, African presidents remain nervous about the future. With just over 11,000 deaths – a quarter of the figures for the UK alone – the African continent, seems to have been relatively insulated against Covid-19. Mr Blair warned leaders to be cautious, pointing to a rapid acceleration in the number of cases and uncertainty surrounding data which his Institute hopes to tackle in a report to be released this week.

Ultimately, the pandemic has not changed the priorities for the continent but made addressing them quickly “absolutely essential”. On issues surrounding institutional change, supply chain security and technological change, “those who adapt now are going to be the countries that succeed,” he predicted. The challenge remains turning Africa’s opportunities into bankable projects and linking those to the right type of investment. To do so, greater alignment is needed between investors, international development partners and governments. Responding to a question from Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Director at the Africa Finance Corporation, Tony Blair suggested the formation of a committee to tackle this issue, which his Institute has addressed in their report into ‘Scaling Up Investment for Covid-19 Economic Recovery and Jobs in Africa’, launched during the broadcast.

“The good news,” he said, “is that there is a lot of capital looking for places to invest. The bad news is that there’s a lot of competition”. For African governments, this means that it is more important than ever to provide a stable and attractive investment climate. “If governments put the right framework in place,” he concluded, “there is enough entrepreneurial endeavour and capacity to make things quite exciting for Africa”. The former Prime Minister finished by telling the assembled investors and businesses that he remains optimistic that “this will be Africa’s century”.

About the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change:
By shaping policy and providing practical support, we help political leaders and governments build open, inclusive and prosperous societies in a globalised world. We do this by helping countries, their people and their governments address some of the most difficult challenges in the world today. We work to promote co-existence and counter extremism by tackling the ideology behind violence, not just the violence itself. We work with governments and leaders of fragile, developing and emerging states to enhance their effectiveness. We work to support increased stability and understanding in the Middle East. And we work to revitalise the centre ground of politics and equip today’s leaders to combat the rise of false populism.

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Press Contact: Julie Crowley, Director of Communications,

About Invest Africa:
Invest Africa is a leading pan-African business platform that promotes trade and investment in Africa. With a global footprint of more than 400 member companies, comprising multinationals, private equity firms, institutional investors, development finance institutions, professional service organisations, government bodies and entrepreneurs, Invest Africa uses its sixty years’ experience in Africa to provide its members with unique information and exposure to business opportunities.

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Press contact: Eleanor Brown, Content Manager,

Contact number: +44 203 730 5035