HC Deb 22 March 1976 vol 908 cc26-7
40. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister for Overseas Development what assistance he is making available to the Government of Lesotho.

Mr. John Grant

A grant of £7 million for development assistance has been made available to the Lesotho Government for the three years ending this month. In addition, there has been a full programme of technical assistance. It is hoped to sign an agreement shortly on the level of development assistance for the next three years.

Mr. Wall

I welcome that reply. What help, both financial and in the provision of educational and administrative staff, is it possible to give to the national university in Lesotho?

Mr. Grant

Since the national university of Lesotho was established last October, we have continued the supplementation benefits to British staff at the university and we hope to conclude an agreement with the Lesotho Government fairly soon to continue that form of assistance. However, I understand that the Lesotho Government are curently preparing an overall plan of their own for the development of the university. We shall give sympathetic consideration to any approach for assistance with that plan, bearing in mind what other donors may be doing.

Mr. Pavitt

In considering the implementation of the next three-year plan, will my hon. Friend give special attention to the question of the development of self-help co-operatives, both agricultural and otherwise, in co-operation with the Co-operative movement in this country in order to secure the maximum amount of mutual support?

Mr. Grant

We shall consider carefully what my hon. Friend said. We are aware of the need for further rural development in Lesotho. We are already doing a good deal in this respect, but we shall continue with it in our further assistance.

Mr. Rifkind

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Transkei, with economic problems similar to those of Lesotho, has expressed a wish to receive aid from Britain after independence, to reduce its economic dependence on South Africa? Would an application for aid be considered favourably?

Mr. Grant

It is not the policy of the Government at this time to assist the "home lands".

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