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Low-Priced Books, Africa

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 27 March 1962

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asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what arrangements he is making for the distribution of low-priced textbooks and the low-priced paperbacks under the official scheme in the countries of Africa.

The scheme has not yet been applied in Africa. We have concentrated the available resources in Asia where the need has been greatest.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is widespread disappointment, and indeed surprise, that this scheme is not to apply to Africa where there is an increasing flood of cheap Communist literature? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this again and try to persuade publishers in this country to take a longer view of what are their own real interests?

I have not closed my mind to this. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman saw the exhibition of books for tropical areas last week at London University. There was a wide range of books made on commercial lines available to Africa which go a long way to fill this gap.