Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360 - 374)



  360. Do you agree with that?
  (Ms Crisp) I do not agree or disagree. I have not seen a study that has shown that there is a significant difference between migrant workers, particularly in our situation, and other population groups in terms of their HIV prevalence. In fact, the Carletonville project has shown, as I think Brian mentioned earlier, that the prevalence level amongst mineworkers in Carletonville is not significantly different from that of people in the surrounding community.

  361. If one is really going to be serious about tackling this issue it cannot just be done on a workplace basis because for a lot of time people will be outside the workplace. I assume it is their behaviour outside work that is the crucial factor.
  (Ms Crisp) Well, we hope it is.

  362. Yes, indeed. I just wonder what analysis does go on between the private sector and the public sector and others about how you create the kinds of communities that are least likely to be HIV-positive in high numbers. Does any work go on?
  (Ms Franklin) There are certainly a lot of partnerships that go on which are encouraged from UNAIDS and the IPAA, which I know you have heard about already, and individual company partnerships with other NGOs. I do not know whether there has been the specific research that you have mentioned but in order for any of us to make a difference it needs to be hand in hand with other groups. MTV is not an expert on AIDS, therefore we partner with UNAIDS to give us some expertise. The Global Business Council is partnering up with other companies so that we can ensure the expertise we have and the tools that we have are accessible to all other companies. It is a question of making sure that we have the right partnership support.

  363. That takes me on to my next but one question. Perhaps we could expand on your role at this point about how it works, how you spread best practice, and the contribution that the Business Council can make.
  (Ms Franklin) The Global Business Council's role is leadership and advocacy. It is made up of a group of businesses, multi-nationals, regional companies, national companies. All of the members, to date, have a good track record with HIV and AIDS policies. What we all have are tools at our disposal. Those are no cost, low cost or, within AngloCoal and Standard Chartered, high cost due to where their companies are based. Any company, small, medium or large, can come to us and find out what we do. The Global Business Council has a corporate leadership statement which we invite any company to sign which makes public their commitment to dealing with HIV and AIDS. That is a no cost example for a company to become involved. Or you could approach us to help write an HIV and AIDS policy for your company. Again, it is a no cost way of ensuring that your employees know what you support. There are various other tools. There is the Prince of Wales' Business Leaders Forum Report which we are launching in Durban which gives 17 case studies of different companies in the developing world and the developed world, how they are dealing with HIV and AIDS. The GBC has a website whereby companies can easily access the information that they need.

  364. I am very conscious that we are talking to you today as big companies, that you are leaders in your field, you are household names. Have you got a picture for us of what percentage of the workforce are in companies like yourselves and what percentage are in small and medium sized enterprises, the informal sector? When we talk about policy for business, how many people would we reach through big companies? Have you any spread of economic enterprise size?
  (Mr Cochrane) Which countries?

  365. Exactly. South Africa, Botswana. When we talk, as we have done today, to companies such as yourselves who have a policy, how many people are we reaching? Guess.
  (Dr Brink) I do not have that number available, we could probably find it for you.

  366. The country economic organisations would probably have this kind of picture, would they not?
  (Dr Brink) I am sure it is easily available. One thing I do think, certainly for South Africa and probably Southern Africa, the growth of small and medium enterprises is critical to the development of the economy, so we have to find a way that those small businesses also take their part in dealing with this.

  367. What are you? A small minority?
  (Ms Crisp) I would say so, yes.

  368. Ten per cent?
  (Mr Wheeler) Broadly.
  (Mr Cochrane) I would have thought it was more than that in South Africa.

  369. But in Botswana and Zambia? It will depend, in Zambia, on the influence of copper belts and so on.
  (Mr Wheeler) Yes.

  370. Can I ask about the interrelationship between the donors, like DFID, the European Union, other national donor nations and large NGOs? Can you draw our attention to any good examples of how they are working with the private sector and what is the proper relationship between donors and the private sector? We have been to places and have said, "Really that is the responsibility of the private sector, we should not be putting public money into that." Can you talk about that relationship, between the donors and the private sector? Good examples, bad examples, boundaries?
  (Ms Crisp) Historically, it has been the impression of the private sector that the donor agencies work with governments and work with NGOs, and we have not historically seen a relationship between donor agencies and the private sector. In situations like the Carletonville Project, that is a partnership with the community and employers and there is now funding from the donor agency, but that is a relatively new development. One of our operations, AngloCoal, which has a similar sort of project in the Mpumalanga area, is talking to donors because they want to extend that project in conjunction with the local government and local communities to a much broader base than they have at the moment. So I would like to think there is an opportunity for that co-operation, but it is certainly something where the opportunity has not been there historically.

  371. So when you go to somewhere like Carletonville, this is a one-off basically? There is not much else going on?
  (Dr Brink) I think Carletonville is a good one. It is a good example of the kind of partnership between business, government, local communities, and donor agencies can assist with that, and it has been particularly successful. We must build on those. There are lots of those initiatives.
  (Ms Franklin) It is the partnerships which are important. The donor agencies can fund an NGO, and a private company is then working with the NGOs.

  372. Sorry, I am including where, say, DFID gives money to an NGO, where DFID is approving an NGO's activity. I am not talking about DFID directly doing it themselves, so we are not talking about the donor agencies. I am asking, where does public money get to through NGOs to work with the private sector? That is pretty rare?
  (Mr Wheeler) It is not very visible.
  (Mr Cochrane) On the treatment side, there is a huge amount, but that is not what you are asking about. On the educational side, there is not actually a lot of partnership going on. UNICEF are doing an awful lot of work in terms of children and mother-to-child transmission. There are education programmes—the Ugandan Government, the Cote d'Ivoire Government, a whole host of governments in Africa—but they are rather specific projects which are funded specifically. If you talk to DFID you will find out they are funding quite a few programmes around Africa, as is the French Government, as is the World Bank. The World Bank, and we have had a lot of contact with them recently—

  373. But it is the education sector?
  (Mr Cochrane) Yes, in information.

  374. Finally, can I ask about the need for legislation in countries in Southern Africa on issues relating to HIV in the work place, be it on work place benefits, retirement, non-discrimination and testing, tax breaks? That is a lot of questions but are there legislative flaws which should be put right to reflect what ought to be done by the governments of those countries? Is there anything from the private sector view-point relating to HIV-AIDS which governments should be tackling and changing the law on?
  (Mr Wheeler) There is the generic point which is that in many countries medical and insurance schemes do not exist, so we are starting from a very different field from the ones we would normally approach. South Africa is different, Botswana, Zimbabwe, they are all different, they have all got schemes, but as you move north it is limited.
  (Ms Franklin) In other countries as well, in Latin America, in the Dominican Republic, they have just put in a non-discrimination law for people with HIV and AIDS, but there is still so much learning and education to be done in the whole country it tends to be this law is still ignored. So we are still at the very early stages, and when we go back to education and awareness this has to be developed.
  (Dr Brink) To the extent the legislation facilitates a proper response to the HIV epidemic, that is good, and I think South Africa has been somewhat in the lead in trying to develop such legislation. What is particularly important is to look to what is the intention of the legislator, and developing legislation is a difficult process, you do not always get it right first time round, and I would see that we need to work together between the private sector and government to develop appropriate legislation that is actually going to facilitate a healthy environment for dealing with this epidemic.

  Chairman: Thank you all very much indeed for your patience in answering our questions and for coming here this morning. I would particularly like to thank Dr Brian Brink and Ms Crisp who I believe have travelled from South Africa to be here this morning, so that is an extra special effort and thank you both very much for doing that. What we plan to do now is have Mr James Cochrane remain at the table and the rest of you retire—we would be very happy if you would like to stay in the public gallery behind you—because we now need to talk about the whole question of the drugs treatment which is available. We would like to invite Mr Saul Walker to join us at the table. Thank you all very much.

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