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Balkans

17. Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to maintain and expand assistance for the development and reconstruction of civil society and political structures in (a) Kosovo, (b) Macedonia and (c) Montenegro. [100364]

Clare Short: As part of our strategy to move from emergency and humanitarian support in Kosovo to longer-term assistance, we plan to assist with elections planned for next year (including arrangements for civil registration), promote the protection of civil and political rights and encourage the development of local civil society.

In Macedonia, we are planning to strengthen the capacity of government and civil society to design and deliver effective social policies. We are currently supporting citizen's advice and information services.

In Montenegro, we are exploring ways to build the capacity of civil society.

28. Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if, when she last met her colleagues from other member states of the European Union, they discussed matters relating to the funding of aid projects in Kosovo and Serbia. [100375]

Clare Short: I have not discussed the funding of aid projects in Kosovo and Serbia with EU colleagues recently. However, there are regular meetings at official level.

Most recently the second donors' conference for Kosovo held in Brussels on 17 November pledged over $1 billion towards a programme of reconstruction and recovery. On Serbia, our position and that of the European Union is that, as long as Milosevic remains in power, we are only prepared to provide humanitarian assistance.

Volunteers

18. Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the contribution of post-school overseas volunteers to developing countries. [100365]

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Clare Short: My Department does not support schemes or organisations which fund school leavers to do volunteer work in developing countries, where the principal aim is the self development of the volunteer rather than developmental impact.

Over the last 20 years the main volunteer sending agencies have themselves phased out sending school leavers overseas, instead focusing on experienced and professional people who can have an impact on sustainable development. However, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) have recently introduced a new programme "Millennium World Youth" in partnership with The Prince's Trust. This is a new approach to volunteering for younger people, focusing on helping develop and challenge youth approaches to issues such as racism.

My Department does support the Overseas Training Programme, run by VSO. This initiative aims to send young people overseas, who are close to obtaining a professional qualification, have a particular expertise to offer, and can have a role to play in development. This scheme is due to be reviewed next year.

Windward Islands

19. Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to help the people of the Windward islands. [100366]

Clare Short: Our office in the Caribbean is currently finalising a three year strategy paper for the Windward Islands which will take forward and focus our development assistance in areas where we can best help to reduce poverty. The strategy anticipates total DFID funding of £3m per year for the four islands in support of further work in education, the environment, economic reform, social policy, particularly focusing on poverty reduction strategies and public sector reform.

Zimbabwe

21. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the future of the aid programme to Zimbabwe. [100368]

Clare Short: The Government of Zimbabwe's policies are not focused on reducing poverty and this seriously limits our ability to work in Zimbabwe.

This means we are working to low case scenario set out in a Country Strategy Paper, published in April 1999. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Women (Economic Empowerment)

22. Mr. Geraint Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to provide greater economic empowerment of women in the developing world. [100369]

Clare Short: Women bear the brunt of poverty, but they also hold the key to its eradication. We are strongly committed to getting more girls through school, and working for improved opportunities for women.

We are supporting numerous projects and programmes which are seeking to make credit available to poor women, to provide them with non-financial support to starting and building small and medium enterprises,

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and removing obstacles to women's access to land and other assets. Our work in support of women has been the subject of a recent inquiry by the International Development Committee of this House, and it has just published an informative report on the work we are doing in this area.

Kenya

23. Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial support the Government are giving to Kenya. [100370]

Clare Short: UK bilateral development assistance to Kenya for 1999-2000 is expected to be £24 million.

Mongolia

26. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plan she has to visit projects funded by her Department in Mongolia. [100373]

Clare Short: I have no plans to visit Mongolia.

AIDS Vaccine

29. Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the work of her Department to support the development of an AIDS vaccine for use in the developing world. [100376]

Clare Short: We are providing £14 million over the next five years to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to help develop an AIDS vaccine which is safe, effective and affordable for developing countries. This is additional to our earlier grant of £200,000 made in 1998, and supplements our existing work with the UK Medical Research Council and the European Commission.

Malaria

30. Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the World Health Organisation regarding the increased incidence of malaria; and if she will make a statement. [100377]

Clare Short: My Department has regular and frequent discussions with the World Health Organisation. Most recently, we have completed arrangements for making available £48 million over the next four years to the Roll Back Malaria initiative. £7 million of this allocation has already been provided for work this year.

Belize

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the development benefit to Belize of its investment in the hydro-electric power project in 1994-95. [101744]

Clare Short: None. Responsibility for assessing the development value of its investments rests with CDC's board.

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if the Commonwealth Development Corporation's investment in the Belize hydro-electric project in 1994-95 meets the criteria for

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investment currently in operation; and what value for money assessment her Department has made of the project. [101738]

Clare Short: The investment in Belize Electricity Company was made according to conventional project financing criteria, fully meeting CDC's criteria at the time. These took into account the internal rate of return, the continuing capacity of the business to service the debt, and an analysis of key risk factors. CDC is now moving away from senior debt into equity investment.

Responsibility for assessing the value for money of individual investments rests with CDC's board. DFID's interest is not at project level but in the performance of CDC in meeting overall agreed targets.

My Department has not carried out a value for money assessment of the project.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what was the average (a) interest charge per year levied by the Commonwealth Development Corporation and (b) bank rate per year over the period 1990 to 1997. [101742]

Clare Short: Since 1993 CDC's policy has been to fix its interest rate with reference to a base rate kept in line with the London Inter-Bank Offer Rate (LIBOR), plus a margin ranging from 1 per cent. to 5 per cent. reflecting the credit quality of the borrower and incorporating as assessment of market and project risk.

In the period concerned the rate of interest that CDC was charging on its long-term senior debt was in line with that charged by other development finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and was not subsidised.

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what was the average value of investments made by the Commonwealth Development Corporation in each of the years 1990 to 1997. [101740]

Clare Short: The value of CDC's average individual investments in each of the years 1990 to 1997 was as follows:

£ million
19913.6
19923.7
19933.9
19943.8
19953.8
19964.0
19974.0

The figures for 1990 are not immediately available.


Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what are the benefits to recipients, other than favourable treatment for interest rates, of loans provided by the Commonwealth Development Corporation which cannot be provided by commercial borrowing. [101745]

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Clare Short: In many markets where CDC operates, long-term loans are not available to businesses for reasons of perceived credit risk. CDC loans therefore enable businesses to access long-term senior debt which may not otherwise be available to them.

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what was the largest investment made by the Commonwealth Development Corporation in the years 1990 to 1997. [101741]

Clare Short: The largest investment made by CDC between 1990-97 was £38.3 million in the Housing Development and Finance Company in India.

Mr. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which hydro-electric projects the Commonwealth Development Corporation invested from 1990 to 1997. [101743]

Clare Short: Between 1990 and 1997 CDC made investments in three hydro-electric projects. These were: the Hidroelectrica Planatar SA in Costa Rica, the Kapichira Hydro Electric Scheme in Malawi and the Belize Electricity Company Ltd.


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