Tony Blair accepted the award on behalf of our Effective Governance staff and their counterparts in the eight African countries in which we work.
This work, he said, "arose out of my time as Prime Minister, when I found that the hardest thing about government is getting something done… we put teams of people in the country and they work alongside the team of the President, to help them get whatever they need done."
We now work across governments in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria.
In Nigeria, we have supported the set-up of the Development Bank of Nigeria, which will give loans to hundreds of thousands of small businesses.
In Ethiopia, our team is supporting the government to create 2 million more jobs to lift more people out of poverty.
In Rwanda, we are supporting the government to develop new export industries to create jobs and build a better future.
Nick Thompson, congratulated Mr Blair on the award and reflected on AGI’s success:
"We’re a young charity that has grown quickly and, I am proud to say, has had a huge impact."
Mr Blair thanked the Austin family and the Starkey Foundation for the award, remembering a recent trip to Kenya when he saw first-hand the work they do to provide hearing aids to those in need, he said:
“Giving people hearing, opening the world to them and allowing them to live with some potential - it allows people to look at the world and see hope.”
Mr. Blair also spoke about some of the changes he sees on the continent today, saying:
“It’s possible to look at the world sometimes and feel pessimistic, to feel disillusioned, disappointed in the prospects for humanity. But it’s also possible to look at the continent of Africa and feel hope. Because over the past few years, life expectancy has risen, the number of people dying from killer diseases has fallen. Four out of ten of the fastest growing economies in the world over the last five years are in Africa.
“And in those countries we work in, the continent that we dedicate our time to, we can see the change happening. It doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through leadership and through partnerships."
The work described here was carried out by the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, it is now being continued by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.