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Employment (Developing Countries)

Volume 539: debated on Wednesday 1 February 2012

Economic growth is the primary driver of job creation, and it is a top priority among the United Kingdom’s new development policies on economic development, wealth creation and job creation. The Department is implementing programmes that will strengthen the private sector, encourage investment, improve finance for businesses and enhance the education and skills of the work force in developing countries.

At the last G20 meeting, world leaders committed to establishing a taskforce to look at employment in developed countries. With unemployment rates in developing countries above 60%, will the UK Government urge the G20 taskforce to look not only at developed countries but at developing countries as well?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right that we need to look at both developing and developed countries. As discussed throughout what has been a disappointing out-turn from the Doha round, it is important to understand what is coming through in terms of jobs, job creation and investment flows in the emerging countries as well. She is right: this has to be on the agenda for developing countries as much as for developed ones.

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the new flexibility given to the Commonwealth Development Corporation will enable it to increase employment in developing countries?

The CDC has undergone fundamental reform over the last 18 months and is now ready not only to identify those things in which it can uniquely and competitively invest—patient capital, as it is best known—but to focus on what will end up being job-full rather than job-less growth in a way that will benefit the economies of developing countries.

Does the Minister still think that companies like Sun Biofuels, which has made more than 1,000 people redundant in Tanzania and treated local people appallingly, are a shining example for countries around the world of how to produce green energy that is good both for the environment and for the economy, despite concerns about the impact of biofuels on food security, water access, land grabs and doubts about whether they even contribute to environmental gains?

The hon. Lady raises an issue about whether combining business risk and new green sources of energy is inevitably risky, with failures likely along that track. I understand her concerns, but she should not overlook the enormous progress made in developing economic growth and business potential in these countries, along with the drive towards green energy production and the need to ensure that these countries have an opportunity to leapfrog many of the technologies we have in the western world.