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Foreign Aid

Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development how many countries receiving United Kingdom aid have agreed poverty reduction strategies with her Department; and how many she expects will be agreed each year to 2006; how many of these strategies she expects to be (a) multi-donor agreements and (b) to be superseded by multi-donor agreements; and which other bilateral and multilateral donors are working with the United Kingdom on multi-donor agreements. [113630]

The UK was influential in agreement being reached at the 1999 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF that countries receiving debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative should produce Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) setting out how resources are to be used. These are the basis for support from the IMF, the World Bank and other donors. We believe strongly that a basic principle of these Strategies is national ownership, written in-country by the government, setting out the policies it intends to pursue to promote growth and reduce poverty. These Strategies are not therefore agreed with DFID, but we are aligning our bilateral development assistance programmes with them. To date, 26 low-income countries—all recipients of UK aid—have produced full PRSs. Of the 25 countries that have produced interim PRSs, we expect a number of these to develop full Strategies over the next year or two. DFID is working with these countries to help them with this.