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Africa (International Fund For Agricultural Development)

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the International Fund for Agricultural Development regarding assistance with its project in Africa.

The president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development called on me on 19 June. We agreed on the need for early agreement on the second replenishment of IFAD'S ordinary resources. Thereafter, member Governments could consider whether or not to make voluntary contributions to the IFAD special programme for Africa.

Has the apparent logjam that is developing over the compromise agreement that was reached earlier this year between other donors been caused by the United States Administration? Is the right hon. Gentleman using his best efforts to break that logjam?

Within the last fortnight I have had talks both with the administrator of United States aid and with Dr. Jazairy, the president of IFAD, and I have done what I can to try to resolve the disagreement. I believe that it should be possible to get a constructive result.

In our aid to famine in Africa, has the airlift component been met outside, and in addition to, our overseas aid budget? When representatives of the Church of England meet the Foreign Secretary later this week, will it be suggested that it would be more helpful if they would encourage hon. Members in all parts of the House who wish to see new money found for our overseas aid projects rather than to criticise us constantly and, indeed, threaten to vote against us at the next election?

The greater part of the airlift has generously been provided by the Ministry of Defence out of its funds. I am grateful to that Ministry and to the Royal Air Force for the way in which they have carried out this operation. As for the bishops, the Church and the Synod, we should all stand firm in advising them to vote Conservative at the next election, not least because of the effectiveness of our aid policies.