HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 cc1192-4
8. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being considered by the Government, as a result of the plan drafted at the Working Party of the Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa, for the creation of an international technical co-operative programme; if the Extraordinary Meeting of the Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa has yet been held; and to what extent this programme will be co-ordinated with the United Nations programmes for technical assistance.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The hon. Member will have seen the announcement made on 17th January to which my hon. Friend drew the attention of the House on 5th February.

Her Majesty's Government have decided with the other member Governments of the Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa South of the Sahara to set up under the Commission a Foundation for Mutual Assistance in Africa South of the Sahara. The special meeting to inaugurate the Foundation and to approve its constitution opened in Accra this morning.

The Foundation aims to establish close working relations with the technical assistance programmes of the United Nations and Specialised Agencies. But the technical assistance which member Governments will provide through the Foundation will be distinct from, and additional to, any existing programmes.

Mr. Rankin

May I take it that the Government are prepared to follow in Africa a pattern at least not dissimilar to the Colombo Plan and that they will be prepared to regard the Commission as a sort of clearing house for all the applications for technical assistance which will follow in Africa?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I could not accept all the definitions put forward by the hon. Member. We certainly will co-ordinate the affairs of this organisation in such a way that it does not overlap the work already being done by the United Nations.