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Female Education (Africa)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of progress towards access to education for women in Africa. [6985]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 27 June 2005]: The most recent assessment of progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)s) is a United Nations report published in June 2005.

The picture of girl's access to education is not uniform across Africa. As reported in the United Nations Millennium Development Goal Report (2005), Sub-Saharan Africa has made limited progress towards increasing girl's access to education. The most recently available figures from 2001 indicate that 86 girls per 100 boys are enrolled at primary school and 79 girls per hundred boys are enrolled in secondary school. The UN's 2004 chart shows that this region is not on track to meet the equal girls enrolment in primary and secondary school MDG targets by 2015 without dramatically scaled up efforts. However the picture is quite different in Northern Africa, with 93 and 96 girls per 100 boys enrolled in primary and secondary schools respectively and the region on track to meet both these MDG targets.

DFID puts a high priority on expanding primary school enrolment and promoting girls education in Africa.

Health Care (Developing Countries)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions he has had with the World Bank on its policy on charging user fees for health care in developing countries; [6752]

(2) what plans there are to discuss charging of user fees for health care in developing countries at the G8 summit in July; [6753]

(3) what assessment he has made of the merits of charging user fees for health care in developing countries. [6754]

Hilary Benn: DFID's recent assessments are that official user fees contribute minimal amounts to the financing of public services. Additionally, official user
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fees are a significant barrier to poor people's access to basic health services. In the poorest countries, there has been little success implementing fee exemptions and waivers targeted to poor people. Evidence from Uganda and elsewhere suggests that removing official fees boosts access to services. Therefore, DFID strongly supports the removal of official user fees for basic health care.

Other fees and charges such as those for medicines, for transport to clinics, and informal or private charges for service, can be more significant in scale, both as a barrier to access and in terms of the revenue they generate. DFID supports the removal of other fees and charges, and helps countries to identify alternative sources of finance for basic health care.

The G8 summit will discuss financing of health care as part of the Africa agenda. To make improved access to services a reality, we are encouraging the removal of user fees and we are seeking significantly increased resources for health. At Gleneagles we are calling for an extra $50billion a year in development assistance. DFID has regular policy discussions with the World Bank at both Headquarters and country level. This includes discussions on options for financing of health services—the World Bank does not have a blanket policy on user fees. We will continue to work with the World Bank, and other partners such as the World Health Organisation, in supporting countries to make progress towards universal access to basic health services.

International Development Organisations (Subscriptions)

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the Government have committed to the (a) World Bank Group, (b) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, (c) European Investment Bank, (d) Asian Development Bank, (e) African Development Bank and (f) Inter American Development Bank in each of the last five years, broken down by (i) subscribed funds, (ii) unsubscribed funds and (iii) sums paid in capital. [6843]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 23 June 2005]: The financing arrangements of the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank (AsDB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) are broadly similar in structure. Capital subscriptions were paid in when the UK joined these institutions, and further amounts are held by the UK, and other shareholders, as callable" capital—that is money which the bank can draw upon if necessary. There have been no demands by these institutions on the UK's callable capital in the last five years.

These institutions make loans on different terms. Loans at or near market rates are provided to better-off countries, and are self-financing. In addition, each of these institutions has a concessional lending arm that provides low interest, long-term loans and grants to poorer countries. The funding for these concessional resources is supplemented—replenished—by donor governments on roughly three-year cycles. The following table shows the amounts committed by the UK to the replenishments over the last five years. There have been no replenishments for the Inter-American Development Bank during this time.
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£ million

International Development Association of the World BankAfrican Development Fund of the AfDBAsian Development Fund of the AsDB

Commitments shown under 2004–05 are subject to parliamentary approval.

In addition to the amounts shown, incentive" contributions have been agreed, which are conditional on progress being achieved in key areas. The amounts are £100 million for the World Bank and £27.5 million for the African Development Bank. The case for an additional contribution to the Asian Development Bank will be considered at the end of 2006.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1991. The UK share of the bank's capital is 8.5 per cent., which is around €1.7billion. Of this, €446 million is paid-in capital, and the Government are making annual instalments of around £16 million to fulfil this commitment; the total amount will have been paid by 2009. EBRD does not make concessional loans.

After the enlargement of the European Union in 2004, the European Investment Bank's (EIB) capital was increased to €164 billion. The UK has a share of 16.3 per cent., which is €26.6 billion. Of this amount, only 5 per cent. is paid-in capital. In the last five years, there have been increases in the UK's share of the subscribed and paid-in capital but these have been fully paid from the European Investment Bank's Reserves. EIB lending is predominately non-concessional.

In addition to the contributions we provide to these institutions' core budgets, DFID provides funding to forward particular objectives or to finance specific projects and activities. Such financing includes country specific trust funds, for example for Afghanistan; funding for research and analysis; and resources for centrally-managed initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries' Trust Fund, which channels donor resources to assist multilateral organisations provide their share of debt relief to countries.


Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department has provided to the government of Iraq in developing (a) running water, (b) sanitation (c) electricity and (d) gas services. [6936]

Hilary Benn: DFID has committed more than £70 million in bilateral assistance towards improved water, electricity and fuel supplies in southern Iraq, to the benefit of over five million people. £20 million was spent on an Emergency Infrastructure Programme in 2003 and 2004, and a further £18 million has been committed for quick-impact emergency infrastructure rehabilitation in 2004 and 2005. A new £40 million
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power, water and fuel project began in April 2005, which will provide technical advice to the Ministry of Electricity in Baghdad on the development of a national energy strategy as well as improving infrastructure in southern Iraq.

DFID also funds a team of technical advisers to help co-ordinate reconstruction projects in line with Iraqi priorities in southern Iraq, working closely with the UK military, the US Project and Contracting Office (PCO) and other donors.

Further DFID support for essential services in Iraq has been channelled through UN agencies. Full details of DFID's contribution to reconstruction in Iraq can be found at

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