HC Deb 18 July 1994 vol 247 cc19-20
39. Mr. Jacques Arnold

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent aid programmes are focused on self-help.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The underlying objective of the whole aid programme is to build on and to promote self-help.

Mr. Arnold

Is not one of the greatest problems facing our overseas development programme the fact that it runs the danger of developing a complete reliance on what I would call the begging bowl mentality? Is not it important for our own overseas aid programme to concentrate on projects that allow self-help and thereby allow people to earn money and self-respect?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Self-help is central to the whole aid programme. I must tell my hon. Friend that most poor people in developing countries are extremely self-reliant. Our aid programme tries to help village and neighbourhood committees to look after water supplies, to maintain drains, to run kindergartens and to do other similar things. My hon. Friend might like to consider that when we spend between 80 and 85 per cent. of our bilateral aid in low-income countries, that is, of course, helping the poor to help themselves.

Back to