Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-130)



  120. I do not disagree with you, I think it is a really huge problem. Can I ask you what mechanisms you use to spot a reformer, and how successful do you think you have been?
  (Ms Short) Barrie? He has been at it all his life.
  (Mr Ireton) The reform has to be judged by actions, as it were, rather than just rhetoric, and so what we are looking for is building up confidence between the international community and a particular government and civil society about the way it is going to move forward. I was just thinking, this morning, Secretary of State, you saw President Jagdeo of Guyana; he said, he was discussing something, IMF and World Bank programmes.
  (Ms Short) It is a HIPC country.
  (Mr Ireton) It is a HIPC country; and there was quite a detailed set of programmes. Now his response was "I don't mind all these so-called conditions, I am a reformer and I want to make progress in Guyana." I think that is a good example of somebody who is trying and who is clearly a reformer. As the Secretary of State said, we often find, because no government is monolithic, that in different parts of government we can make faster progress, whether it is in education, or agriculture, or health, and we will back that process, even though we may not be able to make, say, broader progress with the government over, say, basic growth issues.
  (Ms Short) Let me take another example, Zambia, which has been a development failure historically, was a rich country at the time of independence because of copper, though, of course, copper prices have gone down and down and down and not made it easy for it, had a history of poor governance. I should say, we try to stay on the foot of looking for the opportunity to move forward countries that are very poor, so we are not saying "Well, we're taking our bat home and we're abandoning you," because there are so many people in need in those countries; and in Zambia, after a change of government from the President Kaunda years, then the President Chiluba era was disappointing. We all made a great big effort, we got a commitment to reform, Zambia qualified for HIPC, and that needed extra arrangements, because they had a big tail of debt that was going to kick in again, and then, towards the end of his period, President Chiluba moved away from reform, if I could put it sort of generously, and we had some problematic elections. But there are all sorts of signs, I saw the President today, President Mwanawasa, that he is trying very hard. And when you inherit a system where all the systems are corrupt, that is part of the problem of President Obasanjo of Nigeria, it is very difficult to be a good leader, you know, you are in a poor country, you have got rotten systems and you have got corrupt politicians all around you. So then we are looking for the entry point and trying to help those people. And, we have just said, with Zambia, he wants to tighten up procurement systems and public financial management systems, dead right; and the new Finance Minister did a very good job in cleaning up their revenue authority, and he said "I've now cleaned up how the money is collected, I am going to clean up how it is spent." So that is how it goes. It is hard, and you have got to find people and you have got to be looking for them and give them a chance. And then, often, the reform agenda will move forward and then it will slip, there are other reasons at work, political reasons, or whatever, and then you have to be stern but friendly and try to push it back on track, and then that becomes very political and it depends a bit on personal relationships; and that is how it goes.

  121. You also talk a lot about partnerships with developing countries, and this is very much part of what we have been talking about, of course. Could you explain rather more what exactly partnerships mean in the relationships with other stakeholders in development? I think we have got it, to a large extent, but...
  (Ms Short) The ideal, Rwanda was a test case; after the genocide, everyone would do humanitarian aid, no-one would help Rwanda, because the Government had been decimated and everyone could make allegations about everyone. So the UK moved forward, because we did not have any history in the country, we were one country that they felt that they could trust, to try to just reconstitute the state; and then we found, it is so poor and so decimated, with a high population, on limited land, and problems of being under attack from outside, therefore defence spending, every problem in the world Rwanda certainly has. But when we looked to the IMF and the World Bank for a programme for Rwanda, they could not project any economic growth, so it was like saying, "The country is desperately poor, the population is going to replace itself and grow, and we cannot responsibly lend it any money." So we got involved, trying to get others in, who would not go to Rwanda, because it was difficult politically, to commit aid resources over time, to get the Bank and the Fund to have a slightly more ambitious programme for the country. And this route led us to a memorandum of understanding, the UK with Rwanda, committing long term our resources, behind a reform agenda, in a high risk environment, and Rwanda tends to be very scarred by its history and not trust anyone very much. So we agreed that the Rwandan Government would commit to reforms, we would commit to deliver, and there would be an independent monitoring of how we both kept to our commitments. And that has been seen as a model, in some parts of the world. It really has helped move Rwanda forward. And I am planning to do that in Sierra Leone, about corruption, you know the elections are today, and that country needs to be reconstituted, but it has got desperate corruption problems, and it was corruption that led it into all the trouble it has been in. So that is on the edge of how partnerships go; if both sides commit and then an objective monitoring of whether they kept their word then you have got a more equal partnership. Coming back from that, it is the PRSPs and the putting the country in charge, and being more transparent about what the conditionality is and that it arises from the Millennium Development Goals. I think Gordon wanted to come in.
  (Mr Brown) If I may just add one thing, not about individual countries, because Clare is the expert in dealing with them, as her Department does, but about how the international environment has changed, which I think is one answer to your question. A few years ago, the idea of transparency in monetary and fiscal policy, the idea of pushing forward with countries reaching agreements about how they would be far more open about the way they reported the public finances, and everything, was not the emphasis of the international community; it was either the IMF moving in at a crisis, or, alternatively, even developed countries, like ourselves, not being transparent in the way that we operated some of our financial and monetary policies. And I think the whole international atmosphere has changed on that, and I think even countries that are resistant to the idea of transparency, as they were a few years ago, thinking it is some sort of almost neo-imperialism, that we want to impose conditions upon them, that they must open their books, and everything else, I think that atmosphere has changed as well. And, I think, if you look at what has been happening, particularly in the IMF, but the IMF and the World Bank, over recent years, there is a general move towards codes and standards, these being generally applicable, codes and standards having to be operated by the richest countries as well as the poorest countries. And then a move towards far more effective surveillance, and I think the IMF is attempting to be a far more effective and objective independent organisation in the way it operates surveillance, far more publication of reports that are done, instead of the old secretive nature in which these reports were done privately and never appeared, and, equally, evaluation of the IMF surveillance. So you move from a sort of behind closed doors situation, where there was little emphasis on the transparency that is necessary to avoid or expose corruption, to openness in monetary and fiscal reporting, surveillance being a very important arm, indeed, perhaps the most important way international institutions operate in these areas, reporting by publication of reports on countries, which are becoming far more common, and the IMF itself being subject to surveillance for what it does. And I think this will be the trend over future years. And if you look at the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and what is being discussed, it is, in a sense, this deal, that, in return for greater transparency, openness, a deliberate set of policies to avoid corruption, to open the accounts in a way that people can see publicly what is happening to the finances, independent operation of monetary policy, and so on, more money will be provided. And I think there is less resistance to that sort of conditionality, because it is seen to be the norm, not just for developing countries but actually the only way that stability can be achieved in developed countries as well. So I would just emphasise the change in international atmosphere. We have got the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting in Britain this year, and I think that will be very much part of our discussion, about what advances have been made in transparency, what more can be done, and I think, in future years, you will be thinking of the IMF far more as an organisation conducting surveillance on behalf of the world community, and, in a sense, allowing the exposure of problems before they arrive, so that it is a crisis prevention institution, rather than simply brought in whenever the crisis hits people.

  Chairman: That is very helpful. Let us move on to currency transaction taxes and Tobin tax, which we will all become experts on.

Mr Walter

  122. The Committee took evidence, a couple of weeks ago, from Professor Spahn, of Frankfurt University, who has given evidence to the German Government in some detail on this. I wonder if I could ask you, first of all, some questions about practicality. The proponents of this tax see it as a means of creating stability in foreign exchange markets, which would, in turn, be good for developing countries and their economies, and so on. I suspect it would be good for developed countries and their economies as well, and the Chancellor's predecessors, over many years, have wrestled with that problem in the past, and also as an international hypothecated tax that would be used to fund development. Professor Spahn advances an idea of something like a one basis point tax. I wonder if, first of all, you could suggest whether or not you think that this sort of currency transactions tax could be made to work?
  (Mr Brown) When Professor Tobin proposed this sort of currency tax, and Professor Spahn has moved the issue on with his two-tier tax, and everything else, when he initially proposed it, it was in a world of very restricted movement, very sheltered economies, not a great deal of liberalisation of the capital market. And I think the real problem that you face, in operating a Tobin-style tax, in practice, and this is what you are asking about, is that to be effective it would have to be applied right across the board, internationally, that you no longer have the barriers that existed in the 1970s and 1980s to the flow of capital, you have got a free flow of capital at the moment, and for it to be operated in every regime you would have to have the international political will to do so. And that is the great drawback. And Professor Tobin, of course, died, sadly, this year, but I think by the time he had looked at this again, in a world of liberalised capital markets, Professor Tobin himself—
  (Ms Short) Did not support the Tobin tax.
  (Mr Brown) . . . thought that it was going to be very difficult. It is very difficult to advocate a tax that has been, in a sense, rejected by the person who put the proposal forward. Professor Spahn's proposal, which is this two-tier, lower rate of tax on standard transactions and a higher rate applied during periods of speculative attack, it has got the same problem, that you would have to get agreement right across the financial markets, right across the countries operating markets, you would require, therefore, political will on the part of all countries to do it, and there is no sign that that political will exists. And, again, it just seems to me that this issue of how much money, apart from whether it is a solution to the problems of speculation, but how much money countries are going to be able to make available, at the end of the day, it comes back to the political will of individual countries; and, whether it is a Tobin tax, or an arms tax, or anything else, each individual country would have to make a decision to go ahead with this.
  (Ms Short) I would like to add to that. Because I think the right position on the Tobin tax is, "It is interesting, let's look at it, but don't hold your breath." Is everyone in the world going to agree, because it could not take place before that. But the bad side of this is people pretending that you have got to find new forms of tax to fund development; whereas, in fact, the money we are spending on development, compared with the whole of British public expenditure, is a tiny amount of money. You do not have to invent a new tax to find the money, you have to decide whether you should find the money, and then, if new taxes are good for the international system, let us have them. But I think it is slightly dangerous to the development argument if you get boxed into thinking you can only get more money for development if you can find a new tax.
  (Mr Brown) And, of course, there is a paradox about it, if it is successful, that we raise very little money.

  Mr Robathan: And you do not like taxes to do that.

Mr Walter

  123. I think the Chancellor's objection is one that I raised with Professor Spahn, who seemed to think that it could be imposed unilaterally by EU Member States, but I think his understanding of the way financial markets operate is something that I am not convinced about.
  (Mr Brown) We are one of the few countries that actually has a tax on transactions, and that is Stamp Duty on shares, and we are under repeated pressure from the City to get rid of it, and there is not much evidence that other countries are wanting to follow it; so there is a difficulty. I still think, myself, that these issues should remain open for debate, because there may come a point at which people are prepared to agree collective action, and it may be in relation to a Tobin tax, it may be in relation to Special Drawing Rights, I do not think we should close our mind to all these things. But, as I keep saying, it does come back to whether individual countries are prepared to say that they themselves are prepared to spend more, one way or another; because, if you are to raise money, you have got to get the consent of your own domestic legislature, whatever country you are, to do so.

  124. Can I just pick up the Secretary of State's point, which I think you alluded to as well, Chancellor, by saying that it would not actually raise very much money, as to whether or not this sort of tax initiative is desirable, should we not be concentrating on the real gain, which is countries actually raising their own budgets for this, rather than trying to find some incredibly sophisticated wheeze, in order to get a little bit of extra money?
  (Mr Brown) I myself think that, whatever we expect and hope that the developing countries are prepared to do to change the way they use money, it is going to be essential, in the next period of time, that we provide more development aid. So I do not think we can rely totally on the individual countries themselves, over the next few years, to be able to solve, by their own budgetary decisions, their health and education challenges. And I think we have a duty, we have a moral duty, but I think it is in our interests economically for the long run as well, and we are talking about global public goods, in a sense, here, as well, that it is in our interests to support this. So we will need more, additional development money, there is no doubt about that, in my view; we should see it not as charity but as investment in the capacity of these countries being built for the future. And the question is, where will we find the political will in developed countries so that these decisions about additional development aid can be made. And I hope that, by individual countries working together, we can push the process forward, so that if we do something more we can have an effect on other countries as well; and, equally, I still think it is worth looking, as I said at the beginning, at whether an international financing facility can be developed. Because it was not beyond the imagination of people after 1945, when faced with perhaps greater problems, in restructuring the whole of the world economy, to create new international institutions that were capable of doing that job. I am merely talking about a financing facility that would be of use over the next 10 to 15 years.

Tony Worthington

  125. Can I go to debt relief and Monterrey and what progress you made in assessing what was happening with regard to sustainable debt relief at Monterrey, and we have had the HIPC process for a number of years now; is there any thinking about how it might be changed, or developed, or improved?
  (Ms Short) No. In the run-up to Monterrey, there were some countries calling for more debt relief for more countries. I think the campaign for debt relief moved the world beautifully, and it is probably the first global civil society movement the world has even seen; but some of the arguments that come on the tail of it, some of it is economically illiterate, and you get people saying, "Yes, middle-income countries should get debt relief, and unconditional debt relief," which is nonsense. The whole point of HIPC is that countries that are so poor and so burdened by mistakes of the past, often by previous corrupt governments in their own countries, plus other bad lending, and so on, that they will never, ever escape, and never be able to go forward, so you have a process to write that off, that leverages better economic management and better concern for the poor of their country, and it is meant to relieve these countries and put them on to a better forward path. So, in the end, we worked hard to fight off unrealistic demands for debt relief, that then the world would not have agreed on, and then we would not have had agreement at Monterrey. And so I think it says some general words about deeper debt relief, and because of the problem that Gordon alluded to, which is very serious, that, since enhanced HIPC started, commodity prices have fallen very seriously and oil prices have risen, so countries that have completed the process, like Uganda, because of the fall in coffee prices, are no longer sustainable under the formula and they have exited. And the World Bank did a study recently showing that ten countries, I think it is, will not be sustainable under the formula because of the change in commodity prices, and, as Gordon said, some of the assumptions made in the original calculations by the international financial institutions were a bit optimistic; so the great challenge now is to get the extra billion to deliver what we have promised to the HIPCs, and then to bring the HIPCs that have not qualified, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia is also one, to get them to the condition where they can qualify for their debt relief. So that is the real issue on debt; and some of the talk about more debt relief for more middle-income countries is never going to happen, nor should it happen.
  (Mr Brown) The success in getting 26 countries started through the process is, I think, something that we should congratulate all those people who campaigned for this over many years for achieving; and I think when this started people did not expect us to be able to get that number of countries through, and I think it is to the credit of IMF and the World Bank that their process moved far faster than it had in previous years. Of the remaining countries that are talked of as potential recipients of debt relief, we usually think of it in terms of 16, although the list could keep changing. Five have, for one reason or another, opted out of HIPC, or do not need HIPC, of that 16; of the remaining 11, as Clare says, most of them are conflict countries, where there are particular problems that make it not valuable to the countries, in the end, to achieve the debt relief until they have changed the system of government, or have ended civil wars, or have ended conflict. I think Co®te d'Ivoire is the 27th that is expected to reach decision point by September. So there are a number of countries in conflict which we would expect, if they came out of conflict, to benefit from the conflict assistance facility that Clare has been contributing to. On the problems that have arisen in operating the HIPC system, obviously, if you were starting right from the beginning again, you might have had a different form of facility, but to build the international consensus around this facility and to get many countries to go to 100 per cent has been an achievement. Clare is right, there were probably too optimistic scenarios painted about the economic growth and the exports that some countries were likely to achieve. There has been this big shock to commodity prices, and there has generally been a downturn in the world last year; for that and for other reasons, so that we can ensure that countries would have a sustainable exit from debt at completion point, there will be more money needed, and I think it is as well to alert the international community to the fact that, by one means or another, we will have to do more. The World Bank Trust Fund was $2.5 billion, I think, in the end, in dollars, and every country that was serious about development did make a contribution to it, and this is the sort of thing that is going to be discussed; but, as Clare says, there may be a number of ways that we could look at about how that $1 billion was provided. But the $1 billion does not mean that the HIPC process has been a failure, it has been a success, in getting countries out of it, but, as Clare always reminded people during this process, debt relief was only the beginning for some countries, and it is sustainable development that we are interested in. And, for some countries, it is allowing them to be in a position to borrow, so that they can actually have economic development in future, and it is putting it in its proper perspective, as both a campaign which was successful but also the start of a process for large numbers of countries about getting sustainable development.
  (Ms Short) Can I just make a quick point, because people sometimes talk about debt relief instead of aid. Uganda, that is the star, and that qualified first, 50 per cent of its public expenditure is aid, Mozambique, it is more than 50 per cent. It is not true that a country that has come through debt relief does not need continuing assistance, because these are very poor; but the other really good thing about the countries in conflict is that the possibility of qualifying for HIPC is becoming an incentive to get to peace. And in Sudan I had meetings with the Finance Minister, and they would so like to engage with the IFI and get debt relief, there is a growing interest in moving peace forward, for other reasons as well; and the same in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So it is going to take time, but the HIPC's existence is increasing the will to find peace.

  126. I agree with everything you have both said, but we started with saying there were 41 countries. We all received lobbying about debt relief, right, and we started with the situation of saying there are 41 countries that are appropriate for debt relief; is that 41 now finished?
  (Mr Brown) It was 42, at one point.

  127. Is that 41 now finished; are we saying, as well, that the 26 are as far as they are going, in terms of debt relief? I understand about the cases that are conflict zones, and so on and so forth, and the non-consenting countries. But, in response to what people out there seem to want, in terms of debt relief, what does one say, that the system has now delivered, that is basically what I am taking out of this, and that we now move on to much more important things, like trade and aid and development generally?
  (Ms Short) Can I say, what we have to do with the development lobby, which has a big heart and sometimes nonsense economics, is love its heart and grow up its economics. Most of the development NGOs in Britain were against a trade round, at the time of Seattle; they have now all come round. Some of the calls on debt relief were nonsense, unconditional debt relief, which would have allowed countries in conflict to buy more arms. Now it was all well meant, and what we needed to do was take the sense that was in that separately from some of the nonsense in the specifics and take the world forward. So we had 42 countries that were so highly indebted that they could never pay and never escape, and we had a formula; now the list is not closed, there could be some countries that slip down and become even poorer. And if you look at the Central Asian republics, we have been looking at those, some of those are as poor as HIPCs, and will only be called HIPCs or need equivalent treatment if we can move them forward on their, some of them have got terrible governance and terrible corruption problems. But, similarly, of the 42, there are four or five, Vietnam, Angola, Kenya and Yemen, that do not qualify on the formula, they are not quite that poor, and Laos, as you say, did not go for it; so it is not a closed list. But it is a reality that it would be good for the debt lobby to just take more seriously some of the detail, because they often talk about debt relief means you do not need aid, as though Mozambique does not. Mozambique will need aid, it is growing at 10 per cent a year, it is a star reformer; it is a desperately poor country, it has qualified for debt relief, it is investing its aid well, but we are going to have to stick with Mozambique for 10, 15, 20 years.

  128. Could I just take it a bit further. This "certainly qualify for sustainable debt relief," that is the phrase; is that phrase being looked at again? What does "sustainable debt relief" mean; is that going to be redefined? You will know, because we have discussed it before.
  (Ms Short) There is a formula, that has got two parts; but it is your foreign currency earnings, because this is foreign currency debt, and there is something on tax revenues, is there not, in there too. And we did argue, at the enhanced HIPC, that particularly the tax revenue element should be deepened, and did not win, in the international system; as Gordon says, you have got to move everyone forward together. So there is room always for technical arguments, and around this changing commodity prices and what is sustainability we can revisit, but it is into detail; but, of course, finding another billion is not nothing, but where they have a tranche of country some people talk . . . I went to a meeting in Addis Ababa of all the African Finance Ministers, and the middle-income African countries were saying, "We'd like to have our debt relief; we'd like to have all our debt written off." We cannot encourage that thinking, because it is just not realistic, and not even sensible.
  (Mr Brown) I think, an additional answer to the point that you are making, and I do understand that you have these letters and submissions from different organisations, is, first of all, there is no complacency on our part about both what has been achieved and what has yet still to be done. When the G7 met, and indeed the IMFC committee met a few weeks ago, in the communique«s was this commitment to flexibility; in other words, we understand that there may be problems that some countries face in achieving what you rightly say is a sustainable exit from the burden of unpayable debt, and therefore we have to continue to look at this. And where flexibility is needed, either because there are external shocks, or because there is a period of economic decline, or because something else happens in the international community, or to that individual country, if there is something we can do something about, in the way we look at debt, I think we should be prepared to do it. So, rather than say the whole system has gone wrong somehow, I do not believe that is true, you may not have started from where we started, but that is where we did start from, what I think we have got to do is to say that, where we identify problems, either for post conflict countries or for individual countries because of what is happening to their economies, there should be sufficient flexibility in the process so that we can deal with that problem when it arises. And I think it is right for us to say now that we have spotted some problems, that that should not tarnish the whole effort to get debt relief, but we should be prepared to look, as an international community, at putting up more money. So I think it is flexibility that is needed in the way forward, but remembering also that our focus is not simply on debt relief but it is on the Millennium Development Targets and it is on sustainable development.
  (Mr O'Donnell) Can I just add to that. The technical problem was, in the Boards of the Fund and the Bank, when we were discussing this, we were defining sustainability as a debt/export ratio. The question was, you were doing that at decision point, but they get a debt relief at completion point, so how could you tell what exports would be, three years forward; we had no reliable forecasting method, so we used back data. As it turned out, what happened was, we went through a period of a world slow-down, commodity prices fell, export prices fell, so the debt/export ratio that was built in was not the right one. What we are trying to do now, to put that right, is to recalculate that export ratio, so at current commodity prices, and the like, and that is what will lead to the billion extra funding that we need. But it was a technical problem, of trying to work out what a sustainability number would be, some years in the future.
  (Ms Short) And there is another problem that people muddle, and that is domestic debt, and domestic debt can be a terrible squeeze on the growth of an economy. Kenya has got terrible domestic debt, therefore fantastically high interest rates, that absolutely squeezes the private sector, and that needs fixing in countries, like Ghana. But that is not a HIPC problem, that is an economic management problem; and when you are a reformer we can use aid to help with that problem. So sometimes they say, "Oh, I'm indebted," but it is domestic debt and it is a different problem.

  Tony Worthington: Well, I am indebted. Thank you very much.


  129. Before we close, just a couple of very quick, practical questions. Global New Deal. Is the Global New Deal a phrase which encompasses the new International Development Trust Fund?
  (Mr Brown) When we talk about a new deal, what we are meaning is this relationship between developing and developed countries, that, in return for developing countries pursuing the sorts of policies that Clare was talking about, transparency, stability, corruption-free policies that encourage trade and investment, the deal is, that the developed countries should be prepared to do more; it would be a deal, irrespective of whether there was an International Trust Fund.
  (Ms Short) But can I add, that Monterrey was that, an agreement, an absolute consensus on what to do; but it includes Doha. And we have just seen legislation in the US increasing subsidies to agriculture, we have now got, what is it, $360 billion in the international system, in OECD countries, subsidising agriculture, tariffs against developing countries bringing in their products. Part of the deal is Doha, it is not just an aid deal; and if we do not give countries better trading opportunities they will not have the chance to grow their economy.

  130. Lastly, did you think that the Monterrey process gave sufficient voice to developing countries; were they sufficiently engaged in Monterrey?
  (Ms Short) What we have, for all the UN Conferences, is this really quite painful, bureaucratic and long-winded preparatory process in the preparation of texts; but it is a UN process, and they have regional meetings, and all countries are involved. So, yes; you never get perfection in this life, but, the UN systems, they often have very bad products, because they are so bureaucratic, often, you cannot get any kind of strategy into it, you have just got lists of things that everyone piles into the documents, if you are not careful. And that is why Monterrey came well. And, I think, Kofi Annan appointing Zedillo, and some of those things that Gordon said, was part of it, and involving the World Bank and the IMF, and that was unusual for the UN, in bringing them in and trying to hone the reform agenda. But I think they did, and they always are, in UN Conferences, but it does not always give us a good product. We are having trouble on the way to Johannesburg, but we have got to work harder.
  (Mr Brown) Can I just add. One of the great things, and Clare mentioned this at the beginning, about the Millennium Development Goals, is that all the international organisations, uniquely, I think, since 1945, including the IMF and the World Bank, the United Nations, OECD, have signed up to the Millennium Development Goals, most countries have signed up to these Millennium Development Goals, and that, I think, is absolutely crucial to how we see the way forward. And the Monterrey Consensus was possible, I think, because these goals had already been subscribed to, and then a tremendous amount of work, as Clare said, in what sometimes looks like a bureaucratic process, but, with goodwill, was achieved at Monterrey. And I think we should congratulate Kofi Annan and the work that was done by the Zedillo group on this, including Michel Camdessus and Trevor Manuel, who were Special Representatives, who were asked to be involved in this at the last minute. The way I see us moving forward is, there has got to be greater co-operation between these international institutions in future, the UN, IMF, World Bank and OECD, of course, the WTO. In the WTO, it is a "one member, one vote" system; in the IMF, of course, and the World Bank, it is not exactly the same. And there will have to be better mechanisms in future for the voice of developing countries being heard, and there will have to be better co-operation between the international institutions, so that you do not have the blame game, where one set of institutions is blaming another. But the one thing I would say, in conclusion, because I am not invited before your Committee as much as Clare, is that the international reputation of Britain is largely due to the work that Clare Short herself has done, and I think the international reputation of Britain has been added to by the work of this Committee. And I do congratulate you on building a reputation for Britain round the world, as being, on an all-party basis, interested in these development issues and pushing the agenda forward, and I hope that your work will be able to continue that over the course of the year.

  Chairman: Thank you for that, Chancellor. I think the issues are too important, so I think it is important we approach them on a, you know... And thank you, both you and the Secretary of State, for coming and explaining to us today sometimes some quite technical things, which you are involved in, the Department is involved in, on a day-to-day basis, which helps us be better informed and we can then help better inform the other groups outside the House, so we can actually engage in a sensible discussion on these things. But, Chancellor, you can rest assured that we are always happy to see you, and I am not sure whether it would be a reward or a threat to say, depending on how much you give the Secretary of State in the Comprehensive Spending Review, we will be either very pleased to see you, to congratulate you and thank you, or to give you a hard time. But we are sure that your appearance here today is evidence that it is a Department you are concerned about, and we look forward to seeing how this all moves forward. Thank you very much for coming.

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