Business Contact Group

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Established in July 2004 by Gordon Brown and Niall Fitzgerald as part of the Commission for Africa and drawn from Business Action for Africa.

'This is the first time a G8 president has formally sought ideas from the U.S. private sector to shape discussion at a G-8 Summit.'[1]


In July 2004 Chancellor Gordon Brown and Reuter's chairman, Niall FitzGerald, set up a Business Contact Group explicitly to provide private sector input to the Commission for Africa. The Contact Group was comprised of leading corporate investors in Africa meeting the Commission three times during the consultation. Its 16 or so corporate members read like a role call of the most exploitative and despised companies currently operating on the continent including Anglo American, Shell, De Beers, Rio Tinto and...Diageo, who also own the Gleneagles hotel where the G8 Summit took place in 2005. Its programme was managed by Shell International's Senior Business Development Advisor for Africa. Also managing the Contact Group is the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC). The Corporate Council on Africa and the Canadian Council on Africa also gave input, thus allowing oil corporations, ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco, a say.

The group produced a number of formal submissions (not yet available on-line), which also took into account the outcomes of consultation with African regional business roundtables. In addition the Commission, together with Chatham House, organised a major business consultation event in October 2004 which appeared to have focused on attracting greater investment to the continent, especially through public/private infrastructure partnerships, as well as the CSR opportunities that investing in Africa presents.[2]


Members included to following signatories to the Business contact group statement on the findings of the Commission for Africa:

Patrick Cescau, Chairman, Unilever | James Dallas, Chairman, Denton Wilde Sapte | Niall FitzGerald KBE, Chairman, Reuters PLC | Jack Garvey, Chief Executive, Crown Agents | Russell Greig, President Pharmaceuticals International, GlaxoSmithKline | Richard Laing, Chief Executive, CDC Group plc | Graham Mackay, CEO, SABMiller plc | Reginald Mengi, Executive Chairman, IPP Ltd Tanzania | Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman, De Beers Group | Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairman, Shanduka Group | Bryan Sanderson CBE, Chairman, Standard Chartered | Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Anglo American plc | Jan du Plessis, Chairman, British American Tobacco | Paul Skinner, Chairman, Rio Tinto | Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch-Shell | Paul Walsh, CEO, Diageo | Baroness Lynda Chalker, Chairman, Africa Matters Ltd | Robert Davies, CEO, International Business Leaders Forum | Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President, African Business Roundtable | Lucien Bradet, President, Canadian Council on Africa | Brahim Bendjaber, Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry | Charles Cullimore, Chairman, British Africa Business Association | Steve Hayes, President, Corporate Council on Africa, Washington | Mohan Kaul, CEO, Commonwealth Business Council | [3]


  1. Blair Commission for Africa Solicits Corporate Council on Africa to Provide U.S. Private Sector Input; Recommendations to G-8 6/1/05 Corporate Council on Africa press release.
  2. Draft agenda: Commission for Africa Business Conference