HC Deb 28 June 1966 vol 730 cc1564-5
12. Mr. Judd

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what plans he is making for extensive technical assistance to Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland after their independence.

Mr. Greenwood

Extensive technical assistance is already being provided to these three countries, and this will continue after independence if their Governments so desire.

Mr. Judd

Would my right hon. Friend agree that if independence is to have any meaning in this critical area, it is most important that a substantial programme of aid should continue after independence?

Mr. Greenwood

Yes, indeed. We attach the very highest priority to technical assistance. But the scope of the help which we are able to give must depend on our financial resources.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Secretary of State aware that one of the main problems in Bechuanaland is scarcity of water? What study has he given to the project for the irrigation of large areas by means of a pipeline from the Okavanga Swamp?

Mr. Greenwood

I could not answer the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question without notice, but we are certainly aware of the importance of irrigation schemes and the digging of wells in Bechuanaland. We have done what we could to help, and other organisations and agencies have also given help.

Mr. James Johnson

Will my right hon. Friend tell us what he is doing about the development of the Ox-Bow River irrigation power scheme, which is absolutely vital to the future sound economic base of this new State?

Mr. Greenwood

These are matters which will have to be decided in conjunction with the Governments of the independent State. The question of the priority attached to various schemes must be, to a large extent, a matter for the Governments themselves.