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Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will publish a report on UK progress with implementing the G8 Africa Action Plan. [113633]

The UK will publish at the beginning of June a report detailing UK progress in implementing the G8 Africa Action Plan at the G8 Summit in Evian.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress has been made with UN (a) African and (b) sub-regional initiatives to control the circulation of small and light weapons within Africa. [113635]

As part of the joint DFID/FCO/MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool, the UK Government supports the implementation of a number of African and sub-regional initiatives to combat the circulation of small arms and light weapons on the continent. Some of this work has been done in partnership with the UN.The UK provides financial and political support to three regional initiatives: the Nairobi Secretariat assists the countries of eastern Africa, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa to meet the commitments undertaken in the Nairobi Declaration on preventing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (2000). The Secretariat provides advice, capacity building and technical assistance on small arms, training to policing agencies and helps to ensure coherence on regional activities.

The Programme for Co-ordination and Assistance for Security and Development (PCASED) supports the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of light weapons. The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Regional Action Programme on Small Arms and Light Weapons works to assist countries in southern Africa to combat the circulation of small arms. In March 2002 the UK co-sponsored a conference to examine implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects, in Southern Africa.

The UK Global Conflict Prevention Pool also supports the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) weapons collection, destruction and management programme in a number of African countries, including the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A recent UNDP disarmament, demobilization and reintegration project in Republic of Congo assisted 11,000 former fighters to relinquish their weapons and receive economic and social reintegration assistance.

In July 2003, the UK will report to the UN Biennial Meeting of States as part of its review of implementation of the UN Programme of Action. In partnership with other governments, regional agencies and civil society, the UK will seek to find ways to improve implementation of the Programme of Action in Africa, to help ensure that the circulation of small arms is addressed effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department will enter negotiations to reduce the tax African countries impose on the importation of bednets. [112682]

The UK Government is strongly committed to tackling malaria, recognising its importance not just in terms of burden of disease, but also in terms of the impact malaria has on economic development, particularly in Africa where this has been an increasing problem. We are committed to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015, as well as to supporting the principles and targets set out at the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria held in Abuja in April 2000.At that summit, African leaders identified insecticide treated nets as a measure that could be used to control malaria. Eighteen countries have now reduced or eliminated taxes and tariffs on nets, netting material and insecticide. RBM, with the support of DFID, is working on the process necessary to support other countries to do likewise, through advocacy, policy frameworks and technical advice.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress has been made with a country-by-country assessment of (a) finance gaps, (b) necessary policy reforms and (c) private sector participation for providing safe water in Africa. [113609]

The EU 'Water for Life' Initiative was launched at the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002. The initiative aims to provide a means of securing greater co-ordination between EU member states and developing countries in developing water management and water use arrangements.The principal intention of the EU Water Initiative is to provide the means to contribute towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals—to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation. This will include an assessment of finance gaps, necessary policy reforms and private sector participation, focussing initially on Africa.The Initiative has been building a framework of working groups, operating through a core group of representatives and a multi-stakeholder forum, which encompasses Governments, civil society and the private sector. The UK Government are a key contributor and are leading on the Finance Component. They are also a member of several other working groups including water and sanitation.The UK continues to strongly support the EU Water Initiative and is working with member states to ensure that it moves from discussion to action on the ground.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will make a statement about the help the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund has given to Africa, and its future plans. [113625]

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) has made one investment to date, a £14 million senior ranking loan and a £5 million subordinated loan to a cellular investment holding. This is a leading private regional cellular telephone company with 14 licences in 12 countries of Africa, in which a number of Direct Funding Initiatives (DFIs) are also investors. The fund's loan forms part of a larger fund raising by the telephone company. Commercial bank lenders have provided three year term debt, whereas the fund's loans have a six year tenure in order to provide a more stable financing structure.The fund has approved, for the purposes of undertaking a detailed review, a further five investments which would give rise to a potential total commitment by the fund of some £63 million, of which three should close in mid-2003. The five investments represent projects in the electricity, transport, and sanitation sectors, and all are in West Africa. The fund managers will shortly be submitting four further investments for initial approval. This would give rise to additional commitments of £38 million.If potential investments proceed as envisaged over the next 12 months the fund will have committed some £125 million, and will then need to engage in steps to increase its size to around £250 million, as contemplated at the time of its establishment.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the G8 leaders' Africa Personal Representatives have agreed a process for reporting each G8 country's and the EU's progress towards the Monterrey commitments; how often these reports will be made; and how they will be published. [113628]

Progress on achieving the Monterrey commitments will be reported in national progress reports. Each G8 country is individually responsible for publishing a progress report. The UK published an implementation plan shortly after the Africa Action Plan had been agreed, and we will be publishing a progress report that will give an update on activity in each of the priorities we set out in the plan. Africa Personal Representatives will be producing a report for presentation to G8 Heads for the Evian Summit; this report is in the process of being finalised, and will also be made public.