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G20 Summit (Seoul)

Volume 518: debated on Wednesday 17 November 2010

G20 leaders endorsed the Seoul development consensus on shared growth and agreed to a multi-year plan to tackle the obstacles to growth in poor countries. As part of this plan, leaders also agreed to take measures to increase trade within Africa.

At the summit, the Government rightly stressed the need for a free trade area for Africa. At present, only 10% of trade in Africa is between African countries. Does the Secretary of State agree that knocking down the trade walls between African countries will deliver economic benefits far outstripping the amount of aid that developed countries can give?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to make the point about the importance of having a pan-African free trade area—one of the four specific areas championed by the Prime Minister at the G20 summit in Seoul. Knocking down those trade walls, having one-stop border posts and promoting trade within Africa is the key area in helping people to lift themselves out of poverty throughout Africa.

What meetings did the Prime Minister have with other G8 leaders in Seoul to persuade them to reinstate the commitments to increase aid which they made at Gleneagles?

My right hon. Friend raised the matter not only in private but specifically at the table. He pointed out that it was hard to expect leaders in the developing world to stand by their commitments to their people if leaders in the G8 and others did not stand by the commitments that they had solemnly made at Gleneagles and beyond on the importance of increasing our support for the poorest in the world.