Skip to main content

Economic Institutions

Volume 582: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2014

3. What work her Department is undertaking in support of governance, the rule of law and building stable economic institutions. (904295)

My Department supports governance and the rule of law by supporting democratic governance, tackling corruption, increasing tax revenues, improving security and justice for all and strengthening civil society. My Department helps to build stable economic institutions by reducing barriers to doing business and supporting property rights.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will she say a little more about how she is working through the Commonwealth on sub-Saharan Africa and particularly Nigeria to promote those aims?

We are doing a significant amount of work in Commonwealth countries and indeed through the Commonwealth. In recent weeks, of course, we have seen some challenges to stability in northern Nigeria, and most of our work in the country is focused on the north. We are one of the few donors delivering education—in the long term, of course, one of the best ways of achieving stability.

Yemen is a fragile state that faces daily attacks from al-Qaeda on the south Arabian peninsula. What support is the Government providing to help it to build up its institutions?

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, we have provided various forms of support in recent years. Some of it has, of course, been humanitarian, but we are also providing political and technical advice. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State spends a great deal of time in Yemen and the surrounding region personally ensuring that our relationship is not only strong but productive. We hope that, with a new Government in place, Yemen can achieve the reforms that it needs to achieve to stabilise its economy, and, in doing so, can embark on a better development track for the future.

In unstable regions, much good work can be undone by conflict. South Sudan is a new nation. How are we ensuring that our development efforts there are built on firm foundations of good governance?

We have an incredibly difficult job to do in Sudan. Again, much of our work has been focused on humanitarian support. We have tried to strengthen institutions as well, but I think we all recognise that, given the political situation, we face a real challenge and a long-term job. Ultimately, political leadership will be needed in South Sudan itself.

DFID provides support and assistance on the ground in Colombia, where state forces continue to ride roughshod over human rights and extra-judicial killings of civil activists are taking place. Will the Secretary of State make representations to the Colombian Government about human rights abuses, and will she specifically raise our concerns about Martha Diaz and David Flórez?

I am sure that the Foreign Office will note what the hon. Gentleman has said, and will indeed make representations. As he knows, DFID itself does not have a country programme in Colombia, but I will pass on his comments to the Foreign Office.