HC Deb 19 January 2004 vol 416 cc948-9W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what further action he proposes to take to secure a sustainable reduction in the proportion of people living in poverty in Africa. [148139]

Hilary Benn

The UK is committed to helping secure a sustainable reduction in the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The Prime Minister gave his commitment prior to the G8 summit in Canada in 2002 to significantly increase UK spending on bilateral programmes in Africa, and we are on course to increase the UK's budget for bilateral programmes in Africa, to £1 billion by 2005–06, (up from around £650 million a year in 2002).

We shall concentrate our resources in countries strongly committed to poverty reduction and on helping to end and recover from conflict. We will work to improve the effectiveness of UK and others' aid, by supporting country government systems and priorities. We shall continue to promote better coordination and harmonisation between bilateral donors and multilateral organisations on the ground.

The G8 will report progress on the Africa Action Plan during the UK Presidency in 2005. The Africa Action Plan expresses our political support for the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). The Prime Minister's priorities in particular include conflict, HIV/AIDS, primary education and trade.