HC Deb 14 July 1980 vol 988 cc1048-9
62. Mr. Goodlad

asked the Lord Privy Seal how the £75 million being allocated for development in Zimbabwe over the next three years is to be spent; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Neil Marten)

From the £75 million we have already committed £7 million for reconstruction, £1 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and £500,000 for joint funding with United Kingdom voluntary agencies. The United Kingdom contribution to any extension of the Lomé convention to Zimbabwe will come from the same source. The recent aid mission to Zimbabwe made proposals to the Zimbabwe Government for the allocation of the remainder, and we are awaiting their response.

Mr. Goodlad

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Bearing in mind that the rate of increase in the population of Zimbabwe is as high as almost anywhere in the world at 3½ per cent. a year, will he say whether he has received any request from the Zimbabwe Government for population-related assistance and, if so, what his response has been?

Mr. Marten

I share my hon. Friend's concern about the rate of growth of the population in Zimbabwe, but no request has been received, as far as I am aware, from the Government of Zimbabwe. However, detailed allocations have not yet been settled, and we shall be happy to use part of the £75 million for population programmes if that is the wish of the Zimbabwe Government.

Mr. James Johnson

If the Minister believes, as I do, that the survival of this young Zimbabwe State is vital not only for Africa itself but for the Commonwealth as a whole, will he give a pledge to the House to stint nothing to enable the Mugabe Government to maintain themselves in Salisbury?

Mr. Marten

Our aid contribution is a tremendous amount towards helping the Zimbabwe Government to maintain themselves. At the end of this year, or at the beginning of next year, the Zimbabwe Government hope to have a pledging conference of all aid donors. That will need a lot of preparation. We have told them that we shall be glad to help them in the preparation for that, so that other donors can come in with further aid over and above ours.

Mr. Emery

How much of the $500 million that was estimated 18 months ago to be necessary for the rebuilding of that country has been subscribed by nations other than ourselves, and how much of that total has been reached?

Mr. Marten

I cannot say that without notice, but I do not think that it has yet been reached.

Mr. McElhone

Despite the Minister's answer, will he accept that the amount of aid offered by the Government is inadequate to meet the critical situation in Zimbabwe? Will he accept, further, that, unless aid is increased substantially to meet the needs of the Zimbabwe Government, especially for refugees, the situation could become even more critical than it is at present?

Mr. Marten

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. The amount of our aid is substantial. It is greater than anyone else's, and it is one of our biggest aid programmes in Africa. The aid giving and pledging has not ended. If negotiations for membership of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and of the Lomé convention are successful, I think that that will pave the way for additional aid.

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