HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc331-2W
Joan Ruddock

To ask the Prime Minister if he will prioritise debt cancellation at the G8 summit in Canada; and if he will make a statement. [60766]

The Prime Minister

The UK has consistently been at the forefront of international progress on debt relief. The Government played a key role in securing agreement for the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative at the Cologne summit in 1999, that aims to deliver a sustainable exit from debt for the world's poorest countries. At the G8 summit in Canada, the UK will continue to promote this aim and urge the G8, under the leadership of the Canadian Government, to make further progress on debt relief and ensure poor countries have a sustainable exit from debt. Ahead of the summit, the UK has outlined a number of proposals to strengthen HIPC, and in particular, has called for richer countries to provide an additional financial contribution for the HIPC initiative.

The G8 committed last year to looking at how their policies can support African efforts to reduce poverty and bring sustainable development to the continent. African countries have been engaged in developing the New Partnership for Africa's Development, which highlights the importance of sound political and economic governance. The UK has been active in arguing further concrete action, building on our existing strategies for conflict prevention and resolution, health and education, and of the importance of market access for African products. The G8 will come back with proposals in Kananaskis.

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