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Economic Discussions

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the results of his discussions with Gambian Ministers about the economic needs of that Colony.

As a result of discussions of the development needs of the Gambia over the next year or so, I have made a further allocation of £600,000 from colonial development and welfare funds.

What increase does that represent on what was already promised to the Gambia? Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is his settled policy to try as rapidly and as hard as possible to develop the economy of the Gambia before any discussions are entered into with Senegal?

I think that that latter point goes beyond the Question on the Order Paper, which was concerned with the economic needs of the Colony. As far as they are concerned, the allocation should allow development to continue at about the present rate until about March, 1963. What happens after that will depend on the passage of the new Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.

Is there special provision in these additional funds for the expansion of education, for the development of rice growing and for the encouragement of the co-operative movement in the rural areas?

I have given the figure of the amount we are allocating which will continue the present rate of development. If the right hon. Gentleman wants further details, I ask him to put down a Question.