Skip to main content


Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the United Kingdom will raise at the G8 Evian Summit the failure to reach agreement within the WTO to amend the TRIPS agreement to provide affordable access to medicines to Africa's poor; and whether the UK will seek to obtain at Evian a recommitment to this policy by all G8 countries. [113632]

The Government is concerned by the continued lack of progress on this issue. We are actively working with our WTO partners, including members of the G8, to reach a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible and hopefully in advance of the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico in September.At the G8 Evian Summit leaders will discuss both the current blockage in the WTO TRIPS and Public Health negotiations as well as the broader issue of access to medicines. We hope to secure further positive action on these important issues.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how many United Kingdom companies involved in extractive industries in Africa have disclosed their payments to host governments as envisaged in the UK implementation plans for the G8 Africa Action plan; and if she will make a statement. [113644]

The UK is working to persuade relevant stakeholders to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This would encourage producer and host countries to allow company disclosure of payments and to disclose revenues.Ministers, CEOs and high-level representatives will be attending a conference in London on 17 June to agree a statement of principles underpinning EITI and to agree actions on how to take it forward.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development whether the Government has (a) hosted a pre-Evian international meeting to discuss the contribution of extractive industry to transparency and accountability in Africa, (b) developed a framework to promote transparency of payments based on World Bank technical work and (c) persuaded (i) other governments and (ii) oil and mining companies to join this initiative. [113645]

DFID's Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) team has hosted two pre-Evian international meetings:

A multi-stakeholder workshop was held in February 2003 to develop a framework to promote transparency that would be practical and effective in countries heavily dependent on oil, gas and mining;
Moving forward from this, a technical workshop was held in May 2003 to allow stakeholders to review the draft reporting guidelines that have been prepared for the piloting of new approaches to data disclosure. Country level meetings are also being planned which complement this.
Ministers, CEOs and high-level representatives of the stakeholder groups have been invited to a conference in London on 17 June to agree a statement of the principles underpinning EITI and to agree actions to take forward the initiative.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development when a Commonwealth Development Corporation African Fund was established; how much it intends to invest in African businesses; how much this will increase its investment in Africa; and whether the Commonwealth Development Corporation intends to mirror the G8 proposal to devote half its resources to Africa. [113610]

Under the 1999 Act, the Commonwealth Development Corporation became a public limited company, registered as CDC Group pic, and trading as CDC Capital Partners.In August 2002, it was announced that, from 2003, CDC would organise its investment activities through specialised funds. This reorganisation is progressing well and it is intended that fund raising will start later this year. One of these funds will be dedicated to Africa.In the meantime, CDC continues to make investments in Africa. In the past six months, CDC has taken ownership of power assets in Tanzania and South Africa; financed the management buy-out of a leading Egyptian consumer business; made a further investment in Uganda's leading private sector bank; and provided expansion capital to a leading agribusiness exporter in Kenya.CDC Group plc operates under an investment policy, agreed with DFID, which requires that at least 50 cent, of its new investments are in, or for the benefit of, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia and that 70 per cent, of new investments must be in, or for the benefit of, the poorer developing countries (which of course includes most of sub-Saharan Africa). It is not planned to revise these targets in the foreseeable future.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assistance the Commonwealth Business Council has given to the New Partnership for Africa's Development-NEPAD-Business Group. [113611]

The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) helped to establish, and is a member of the NEPAD Business Group (NBG). NBG comprises leading business organisations who have a broad constituency—both inside and outside Africa—and are committed to helping the continent realise its full economic potential. The Group acts as a medium between NEPAD and private companies who support its aims.The NEPAD Heads of Government Implementation Committee at the African Union Summit approved the NBG as its business partner, and set up a special committee of the NEPAD Steering Group to work with CBC. CBC has established a Project Support Unit, to which DFID has contributed £117,000 of funding. The Unit is conducting national consultations with African businesses, policy analyses, and the development of action plans which map out the constraints and opportunities for the private sector to influence the NEPAD process.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what assistance her Department is giving to expand digital opportunities in Africa. [113612]

Through partnerships with others, DFID is supporting four key initiatives that seek to build digital opportunities. First, Imfundo: Partnership for IT in Education 2001–06 (£7 million) works with civil society organisations, the private sector, global agencies and academic institutions to enhance initiatives that support universal equitable basic education. Second, Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) 2003–06 (£8.8 million). This project promotes reform and affordable access to ICTs across Africa and forms part of our response to the G8 Africa Action Plan. Third, Building Digital Opportunities 2001-2004 (£7 million); this global initiative has strong African components and covers a range of ICT issues from regulatory issues to inclusion for the poor through links with traditional media such as community radio. And fourth, the African Virtual University (AVU) 2002–04 (£2 million). The AVU's goal is to reach all students in Africa who would like to attend university but are unable to do so because of costs and distance.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what new initiatives have been taken by G8 countries to support the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals for education in African Countries which are not yet reforming, with particular reference to (a) Nigeria and (b) Democratic Republic of Congo; and what additional funding has been made available for education in African countries already covered by the World Bank's Fast Track initiative. [113613]

Between 2002 and 2007 we intend to spend £1.3 billion on basic education, subject to agreeing high quality programmes with our partners. Of this, about £500 million will go to Africa. This figure of £1.3 billion compares favourably with the £700 million committed to Universal Primary Education since 1997.There is broad consensus among international agencies that greater harmonisation of resources will increase aid effectiveness. We will work with G8 to ensure that they increase support and resources to meet the education MDGs. Our approach to Nigeria and DRC is to support long-term change while supporting rapid improvements in education delivery. In Nigeria we have committed £12.5 million of technical support to help 16 Nigerian states with their plans for Universal Basic Education alongside $100 million of financial support from the World Bank. In the DRC, DFID has agreed to support an education adviser within the World Bank office in Kinshasa and to provide additional support to the education planning process. We will consider supporting education following the conclusion of the peace agreement.Our approach to the Fast Track Initiative (FTI) is to ensure that it focuses on encouraging Governments with large numbers of children out of school to develop credible education plans that will enable them to achieve the aim of universal primary education. We have successfully pressed for the inclusion of those countries with the most children out of school—like India (with 30 million children out of school), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A working group of which DFID is a member has been established to take this forward. In countries where we are engaged, we will consider increasing our support in the context of their PRSP and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. We will continue to be involved in the Fast Track Initiative at all levels but do not envisage diverting existing commitments in order to support specific Fast Track Initiative proposals.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development how much (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's total expenditure her Department has spent in Africa in each year since 1997–98; and how much it will spend in Africa this year and in each of the next three years. [113627]

Since 1997–98 DFID has spent in Africa (a) in cash terms (£m) and (b) as a percentage of the Department's total programme expenditure:

1 2002–03 figures are provisional
DFID's budget is only set until 2005–06, the last year covered by the 2002 Spending Review. In line with the Government's commitment to spend £1 billion in Africa by 2006, DFID's planned expenditure in Africa for each year as far as 2005–06 is as follows:

In cash terms (£m)6868541,043
As a percentage of the Department's total programme expenditure19.023.824.0

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what the timetable is for completing Poverty Reduction Framework Agreements with (a) Ethiopia, (b) Ghana, (c) Mozambique, (d) Sierra Leone, (e) Tanzania and (f) Uganda; and if she will make a statement on plans for such agreements with other countries. [113631]

Ten-year partnerships, now known as country Memoranda of Understanding, were agreed with the Government of Sierra Leone in November 2002 and the Government of Ethiopia in January 2003. The first such Memorandum was signed with the Government of Rwanda in April 1999. It is expected that a country Memorandum of Understanding will be agreed with the Government of Tanzania later this year. In Uganda, a memorandum is being considered with the Government but finalisation will await the revision in late 2003 of the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan with which it will be aligned. Country Memoranda are also being actively considered in Ghana and Mozambique but no timetable has been set. The Department will consider entering in to such long-term partnerships with other African governments that demonstrate strong commitment to the goal of poverty eradication, have appropriate policies in place and, are building the capacity to deliver effective programmes.