HC Deb 30 November 1987 vol 123 c602
74. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any new initiatives are planned by the European Community to assist the poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Chris Patten

The European Community Development Council on 9 November agreed on new measures to aid poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are both heavily indebted and pursuing policies that will allow the aid to be effective. These include a new £70 million programme of grants to finance vital imports; and the faster, better targeted, use of existing funds.

Mr. Bowis

I welcome the statement made on behalf of the European Community Development Council and its action and, more important, the people of sub-Saharan Africa will welcome it. Is there more that can be done to build on the debt initiative of our right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and to support the World Bank in providing its support for the peoples of that part of Africa?

Mr. Patten

We want to see further progress made towards implementing the whole of the Chancellor's debt initiative. As my hon. Friend will doubtless know, there is a meeting later this week in Paris called by the World Bank to consider the co-financing of structural adjustment programmes in Africa. We shall be represented at that meeting and I expect us to make a substantial new pledge of assistance.

Mr. Butler

Why are the European taxpayer and the United Kingdom taxpayer shelling out money to Marxist regimes dedicated to the overthrow of the system that is funding them in this way?

Mr. Patten

I should like to make a distinction between humanitarian assistance, to which one should not tie any conditions, and long-term development assistance. On the latter, I remain determined that we should help effective policies and not ineffective ones.

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