§ 43. Mr. Simon Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department plans to increase aid to Africa in the light of the United Nations Special Session on Africa; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Raison
We shall continue to give priority to Africa in our aid programme. We shall give particular help to those countries where aid can be used effectively, especially those undertaking sensible economic adjustment policies.
§ Mr. Beith
Does that priority mean raiding the budget for Asian countries, or will the Minister find new money for this purpose? Does the right lion. Gentleman recognise that the lesson of the United Nations Special Session on Africa is that there is a readiness to make the economic and structural reforms to which he refers, but that that effort will fail if there is not financial backing from the West, particularly in relieving the debt problem?.
§ Mr. Raison
It is important that Asian countries should receive substantial aid, as they do at present. We must ensure that we make the best use of our resources, and we are certainly looking for good ways of spending development money in Africa. The Africans themselves, at the end of the United Nations Special Session, said that they were satisfied with what had happened at that conference. It was successful both in terms of the Africans' stance of a commitment to policy reform and the donor response.
§ Mr. Jessel
Can my right hon. Friend assure me that. the amount of publicity rightly given to the needs of Africa will not mean that we ignore the needs of the Indian subcontinent, which may be just as great?