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Mozambique, Angola Andguinea-Bissau

Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on British aid to Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau.


asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on British aid to Mozambique and Angola.

I hope to begin an aid programme for these countries as soon as possible. I have already made contact with the authorities concerned in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. I envisage that these should be followed by visits to the countries by my officials.

We have already provided some emergency help to Mozambique in co-operation with UNICEF in airlifting medical supplies and blankets for the flooded areas in the Limpopo Valley. £10,000 has also been contributed to UNDRO towards the cost of seeds from Tanzania to replace damaged crops.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for her excellent reply, may I also draw her attention to the need for long-term aid for these countries now that they are reaching independence? Does she agree that the United Kingdom has a specially important role to play in these other countries, particularly in teaching, because if these developing countries are to play their full part in the African continent and in African affairs there will be a premium on their ability to communicate with their English-peaking neighbours?

What I hope will shortly happen is that my officials will be able to discuss in Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau what would be the best formulation of a long-term aid programme for them. I am sure that it will need to include a good deal of technical assistance. Language teaching may well prove to be one of the most valuable ways in which we can help.

Will my right hon. Friend keep in mind the fact that Mozambique and Angola have been used by the illegal Rhodesian regime for sea and rail transport and that there will be a loss to these countries as they move to independence if they support our Government's action in seeking to bring an end to the Rhodesian regime? Will she, with the United Nations, help these countries because this might bring nearer the end of the illegal Rhodesian régime?

This is one of the factors that comes into the picture. We have primarily to understand that Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in Africa. It has few resources. Angola has slightly more resources, so we may have to differentiate a little between the two. Mozambique is certainly in the most urgent need of all the aid we can provide.