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Will the hon. Gentleman include TB in his list? TB, unfortunately, is the great killer in Africa that is often overlooked. Together with my hon. Friend the
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Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty), I had a meeting last week with Dr. Felix Salaniponi, who is the director of the national TB control programme in Malawi. He made it clear to us that TB can be eradicated but it must not be left out of the equation with malaria and HIV/AIDS. Does the hon. Gentleman agree?
The Department for International Development has earmarked £45 million for direct budget support to Malawi in the period 200306, despite the fact that the Department acknowledges that the country has
Can the Secretary of State assure us that the money will be well spent? In Uganda, 50 per cent. of the budget comes from aid. What impact does that have on the behaviour of the Ugandan Government? Does it undermine their accountability to the Ugandan people?
I turn to the proposed international finance facility. That is a very clever way of front-end loading aid funding, but many questions remain unanswered. How exactly will the extra money be spent? How will we avoid the risk of a dramatic reduction in aid levels after 2015? What guarantees can be given that our aid will indeed be more effective if spent sooner rather than later? If the limiting factor is absorptive capacity on the ground, there is a real risk that aid could be subject to significantly diminishing marginal returns.
The international finance facility for immunisation is a very good idea indeed. Vaccinating children against disease is surely one of the most effective ways to spend our money. Children's lives can be saved for just a few pennies. In the 20th century, we eradicated smallpox from the planet and we made great progress on polio. In the 21st century, why can we not eradicate malaria from the planet, or even HIV/AIDS? In the face of diseases that cause such suffering, we cannot set our sights too high. One of the major priorities for the extra resources released at the G8 should be preventive health care and the provision of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. We must ensure that all the money raised by the main IFF is used as productively as that. Furthermore, the immoral and unethical poaching of doctors and health workers from the third world to work in our countryhealth workers who are desperately needed back in their own communitiesshould be ended immediately.
I come now to debt relief. The last Conservative Government led the world in providing debt relief for poor countries. We welcome the progress that has been made on bilateral debt relief and will urge other countries to follow Britain's lead. We welcome the recent deal on multilateral debt. Well managed debt relief has produced many success stories. Mozambique's debt relief has enabled its Government to immunise 500,000 children. Benin eliminated school fees in rural areas, allowing thousands of children to attend classes for the first time. That is what debt relief can and must achieve, but we need to ensure that all the money freed up in this way is spent on fighting disease and educating children. We must put in place robust measures to ensure that the money released by debt cancellation is
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used to fight poverty. We must match generosity with practicality, acting to ensure that the money released by debt relief is put to good use.
The most effective way of helping African countries to develop is to free up markets for their trade. Although trade policy is a matter to be decided formally at the EU and the World Trade Organisation, it is right that trade measures to help the developing world are very much on the political agenda at the G8. I reiterate our position. Protection for developed countries at the expense of the developing world is both immoral and hypocritical. It must come to an end. For every pound that rich countries give to poor countries in aid, those countries lose £2 through our protectionist trade barriers. Over the past four years, £20 billion has been spent by the EU on agricultural export subsidies to Africa. That is a waste of European taxpayers' money and a direct cause of African impoverishment.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: My hon. Friend will be aware that 20 years ago, when Live Aid started, half the entire EU budget was spent on storing and disposing of surpluses, at a time when people in the world were starving. Is it not a tragedy that 20 years on, we do not seem to have moved very far?
The common agricultural policy hurts British taxpayers and consumers and is detrimental to the interests of poor countries. It encourages overproduction, distorts prices, imposes high tariffs on imports and subsidises exports. The Government must not let French intransigence prevent them from pushing for reforms of the CAP which will benefit the poor. We will press the EU to reduce agricultural tariffs and to end export subsidies. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin) is saying a number of interesting things today about the reform of the CAP. I hope the Government will want to take up his sensible agenda.
The dumping of state-subsidised produce on poorer countries is an abuse of the market. America should be taken to task for its outrageous cotton subsidies, which impoverish the people of Africa. What steps are the Government taking to equip poor countries to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the multilateral trading system overseen by the WTO? Does the Secretary of State agree that a lack of the necessary expertise all too often prevents poor countries from taking full advantage of the system? What further consideration has he given to our proposal to create an advocacy fund to help poor countries fight their corner in international negotiations and to ensure that they are not outgunned in trade disputes? He will want to consider the important points made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the Opposition at yesterday's Prime Minister's questions.
The experience of Africa since independence has not been one of undifferentiated failure, and there are beacons of hope and cradles of development from which the rest of the continent can learn. For example,
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Botswana has had the fastest growth in income per person of any country in the world during the past 35 years. It is a stable, well governed country and a multi-party democracy, and the benefits of its considerable diamond wealth have been spread fairly widely. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, and its Government have taken a firm stand against corruption. When I visited Botswana last year, I was impressed by the anti-corruption posters on every street corner. Of course, the problem for Botswana is that all this is threatened by an HIV-prevalence rate of 30 per cent.
Let us be honestthe people of Africa have suffered from some of the worst Governments in the world. It is polite to refer to that point as "the governance issue", but the euphemism betrays those Africans who encounter police as a uniformed protection racket, customs officers not as people who protect their children from drugs but as extortionists who have bought their posts and need to make them pay, or judges not as neutral administrators of justice but as servants of the rich and powerful. To people from Darfur whose villages have been razed or to Zimbabweans whose homes have been burned, the word "governance" is a shameful, almost wilful, dodging of the issue, and the G8 leaders should act on that matter next week.
This Government have not always lived up to their rhetoric about crimes against humanity in Africa. As President Mugabe's repression gets worse, they still do nothingmeanwhile, China supplies him with arms. In the debate following the statement on the Commission for Africa, the Secretary of State said that he felt the people of Africa would hold their leaders to account through the democratic process. I hope that he will at least concede that things are not going entirely as he had hoped. African Governments have remained resolutely silent over the policies of state terrorism exercised by President Mugabe in Zimbabwe, except, of course, for President Mkapa of Tanzania, who is a member of the Commission for Africa and who earlier this year in a BBC interview praised his "brother" for his brave anti-colonial stance.
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab): The hon. Gentleman has mentioned good governance in Africa and Zimbabwe. This morning, I visited some of the Zimbabwean hunger strikers in Harmsworth. What message does it send to the world about what this country thinks about Zimbabwe that we are prepared to allow 90 people to remain on hunger strike because we will not stop sending back people to that brutal dictator?
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