Tony Blair speaks at Georgetown University

24th April 2015

Speaking yesterday at Georgetown University, AGI’s founder and patron Tony Blair said that effective government is essential to both disaster response and long-term economic development.

Mr Blair highlighted how Ebola was a massive challenge to the health systems of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and one to which they were ill equipped to respond. “The government had to organise itself differently and respond differently,” Mr Blair said, describing how the response needed to put in place and run effective coordination systems to stop the advance of the disease. Explaining the small role AGI’s teams played in supporting this, he said he was proud that “our teams transitioned to working at the centre of government’s response to Ebola and putting in place a systematic way of responding to the crisis.”

Looking to the future of these countries, he urged governments and international partners to “learn lessons, not just why the crisis happened, but also in terms of governance.” It’s crucial to maintain and build on the improved functionality of these systems, he said, not only because the epidemic is still on-going but also, because “the decisions these three countries take in the next six months will be dramatically important to their future.”

Effective government is important for long-term economic development too. “The best poverty reduction is economic development” and “these things depend on a functioning government,” Mr Blair said. He urged donors and international partners that “we can help by partnering with governments that want to change the conditions of their people for the better.” 

You can see the full speech and Q&A here.

You can see quotes and pictures from the event on twitter here.