HL Deb 08 May 1973 vol 342 cc266-7

3.20 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the African Development Fund (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1973, a draft of which was laid before this House on April 16, be approved. The purpose of the Order is to confer upon the Fund, and persons connected with it, the privileges and immunities which are required to be conferred by the Agreement establishing the Fund. Although we signed the Agreement on November 29, 1972, we cannot ratify it unless this Order has been made.

The African Development Fund is an international organisation established to supplement the activities of the African Development Bank, the membership of which at the moment is restricted to African States. In future those taking part in the Fund will be the African Development Bank itself and about 13 to 15 non-African countries. Others may join later. The object of the Fund is to make loans on "soft" terms to those African countries which are members of the Bank and which, because of their economic situation and prospects, need assistance on such terms. The Bank itself makes loans on harder terms and is therefore not a suitable source of loan capital for the poorer African countries.

The scale of privileges and immunities to be accorded to the Fund is very similar to that accorded to the Caribbean Development Bank, a similar financial organisation, in respect of which a draft Order was approved by this House in January last year. When ratifying the Agreement we shall make certain reservations permitted by it. These will have the effect of restricting the privileges and immunities which the Fund and its personnel can enjoy in this country. For example, it will mean that the Fund and persons connected with it will still be liable to prosecution for traffic offences, and persons connected with the Fund who are resident here will have to pay United Kingdom tax. These and other limitations on privileges and immunities are described in the draft Order. The Fund shares the headquarters of the African Development Bank at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. We do not in fact expect it to set up an office here, and therefore the practical application of this Order will be very small. I trust the House will approve this Order and so prove this country's continuing support for measures which are designed to promote the economic growth of the poorer countries of the world. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft African Development Fund (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1973, laid before this House on April 16, bet approved.—(Baroness Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie.)


My Lords, I am sure the House would like to thank the noble Baroness for the very clear explanation that she gave of this Order. We very much welcome the setting up of these softer terms of loan. The Order is very similiar to many others made under the 1968 Act, and we welcome it from this side.

On Question, Motion agreed to.