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Sub-Saharan Africa

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the United Kingdom aid budget to sub-Saharan Africa excluding debt cancellation was for (a) the 2005 calendar year and (b) financial year 2004–05; and what the expected budget is for 2005–06. [42084]

Hilary Benn: In 2004–05 the UK's gross public expenditure on development in sub-Sarahan Africa amounted to £1.18 billion. This figure is reported in table 11 in our annual publication, Statistics in International Development (SID).
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Of this figure, £269.8 million represents debt relief to countries in sub-Sarahan Africa. This comprises of: £246.6 million for the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD), £9 million for CDC (see SID Table 24), £1.7 million for DFID (see SID Table 12.1) and £12.5 million in payments to allow 100 per cent. cancellation of ECGD loans and reimbursements under the Hold in Trust policy (see SID Table 23).

This means that in total, the UK channelled £911 million of bilateral assistance to sub-Sarahan Africa, if bilateral debt relief of all forms is excluded. Note that the UK also spent money in Africa via multilateral agencies, however this amount is not disaggregated to show how much went to Africa. The UK also made a payment to the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) trust fund amounting to £42.1 million in 2004–05 for the cancellation of multilateral debt.

Aid can also be reported according to the international classification 'official development assistance' (ODA). This is undertaken on a calendar year basis. In 2004 (the latest year for which data are available), the UK ODA expenditure for sub-Sarahan Africa was £1.236 billion of which £387 million was debt relief. Excluding debt relief, the total ODA for sub-Sarahan Africa was £849 million.

The target for the bilateral programme (excluding debt relief) for 2005–06 in sub-Sarahan Africa is £1billion.


Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what actions the Government are taking to help people of Southern Sudan. [43907]

Hilary Benn: DFID is helping the people of Southern Sudan in a variety of ways. First and foremost we are working to ensure that peace and security is sustained, through strong political support for the 9 January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and for the deployment of UN peace-keepers. DFID is also providing immediate practical assistance to help establish the new Government of South Sudan and strengthen the capacity of the police and legal system there.

On the humanitarian front, DFID is providing approximately £27 million a year through UN agencies and NGOs to help meet the urgent needs of the existing population, and those returning from other areas. This is providing food and shelter, and access to basic services such as water and sanitation, health care and education. Over two million people remain displaced from Southern Sudan, many in camps around Khartoum, and with others we are pressing to ensure that their rights are protected.

DFID is also helping to fund longer-term development needs in the south, including infrastructure, by our support for the Multi-donor Trust Fund, to which we have committed approximately £24 million over three years.

Water and Sanitation (Funding)

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to his answer of 14 November 2005, Official Report, column 871W, on
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water and sanitation (funding), what agreements were made by EU member states at the December European Council on allocations of aid. [42736]

Hilary Benn: The 15–16 December European Council endorsed the European Consensus on Development" that was agreed by EU Development Ministers on 22 November at the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC). In May 2005, member states made commitments that should see annual EU aid double to over €66 billion per year by 2010.

The first part of the consensus sets out a common development vision to guide all EU member states development co-operation activities. Under the consensus, least developed and low income countries will be given priority in terms of overall resource allocation. It states that resources will be allocated in an objective and transparent way, based on the needs and performance of the beneficiary countries, taking into account specific situations.

Part 2 of the consensus sets out the revised EC Development Policy Statement to guide EC aid. It makes clear that the Community will apply all the principles in Part 1. It also provides more detail on needs criteria and performance criteria. The needs criteria include population, income per capita and the extent of poverty, income distribution and the level of social development. The performance criteria include political, economic and social progress, progress in good governance and the effective use of aid. The 22 November GAERC also asked the Commission and member states to publish aid projections by type and country over the next three years and possibly over a longer period.

The European consensus states that investing in areas including health, water management and infrastructure are among the top priorities for combating poverty. Part2 sets out the aims of the EC's 'integrated water resources management' policy framework which is designed to ensure a supply of sufficient, good quality drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene for all human beings.

The December European Council also adopted the EU-Africa Strategy. The strategy re-emphasised the EU's commitment to facilitate access to water and sanitation in Africa.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when his Department will publish a full Country Assistance Plan for Yemen. [43886]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development is planning to publish its Country Assistance Plan for Yemen by July 2006.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to help improve literacy of women in Yemen. [43887]

Mr. Thomas: Improving female literacy rates is one of the main objectives of the Government of Yemen's Basic Education Development Strategy. Currently 73.5 per cent. of Yemeni women are illiterate, one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing £15 million over five years to support this strategy
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through a project co-funded with the World Bank and other donors. The project aims to increase the number of girls enrolled in basic education by 23 per cent. and the number of girls completing basic education by 30 per cent. by 2010. This will be done by helping increase girls' access to school, including by providing more girls only classrooms and female teachers.

To help keep girls in school, the project will enable parents to have greater involvement in school management, and provide community based adult literacy classes, as evidence shows that adult literacy has a major impact on pupil attendance and performance. The project also aims to improve the quality of education through improvements to teacher training, curriculum development, and education policy, planning, and implementation. This should contribute to better learning outcomes, including higher rates of female literacy.

DFID is also providing £12 million to the Yemen Social Fund for Development (SFD) over four years which provides community level development. Approximately half of the SFD's funds are used to improve access to and quality of education, with a strong focus on girls education.

DFID has also funded Yemeni participation in regional adult literacy workshops in Algeria and Cairo as part of the G8-Broader Middle East Partnership for Progress that has adult literacy as one of its key themes.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of water shortages in Yemen; and what steps his Department plans to take to help alleviate water shortages. [43888]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises that the rapid depletion and mismanagement of water resources are a major threat to Yemen's development and future stability. Yemen receives relatively little aid in relation to its levels of poverty, and few donors are operating in Yemen. To improve the effectiveness of the aid which Yemen receives, DFID is helping the Government of Yemen and donors to improve the co-ordination of donor aid and persuade donors to support Government of Yemen policies rather than unco-ordinated projects. An important part of improving aid effectiveness is that donors focus their assistance in a few areas, and do not duplicate assistance from other donors.

The Yemeni Ministry of Water and Environment has, with donor support, developed a National Water Sector Strategy and Investment Plan (NWSSIP) which is a comprehensive assessment of Yemen's water sector and an action plan to improve water management. Donors, (including the UK) and Government of Yemen, have signed a declaration of support for NWSSIP. DFID also encouraged the Government of Yemen to include the NWSSIP into its new plan for tackling overall development and poverty reduction, to help ensure that water management is considered in other areas of government policy. This ensures sector needs are reflected in planning and budget allocations.

The World Bank, the German and the Dutch Governments are providing substantive assistance to the water sector in Yemen, allowing DFID to focus on
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other areas. We do however help to improve water management through our contributions to the Social Fund for Development (£12 million over four years) which provides community level development including improving water supply and sanitation to the poorest communities. We recognise the importance of strengthened donor engagement including helping the government develop better policies. We are therefore considering support to finance a water specialist to the World Bank office in Sana'a.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment his officials have made of the poverty reduction strategy in Yemen. [43889]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development is providing £3 million over three years in support of the Yemen poverty reduction strategy (PRS). This includes actively supporting development of the 3rdPRS (which is known as the Development Plan for Poverty Reduction-DPPR).

DFID officials assess the content and implementation of the PRS/ DPPR at key stages; for example, when the Government releases a monitoring report, and in response to the needs assessment for the DDPR, which will be based on the Millennium Development Goals. Together with other donors, we will also assess the content of the DPPR when it is released and throughout its implementation. Concerns we have raised include the need to strengthen:

In addition to our assessments of the PRS/ DPPR, DFID's support is particularly geared to enabling Yemenis themselves to assess and influence these strategies. Through Oxfam and other partners, we are supporting civil society groups to: shape the content of the plans; ensure that they are in the interests of the poor and promote gender equality; and monitor and hold the Government accountable for delivering on the commitments they contain.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which projects his Department supports for the promotion of (a) democracy and (b) transparency of civic institutions in Yemen. [43890]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development's programme in Yemen focuses on supporting the development of a more stable, responsive, and accountable state. This includes enabling Yemeni citizens to contribute to how government services are delivered, and holding the Government accountable for their quality.

DFID is directly supporting the promotion of democracy and transparent civic institutions through provision of £900,000 for improving the effectiveness of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referenda
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(SCER), which is responsible for administering elections in Yemen and ensuring that they are free and fair.

Presidential and local council elections will be held in Yemen in September 2006. DFID's funding will be used to provide expert advice in how to prepare and conduct elections, including helping to improve legislation to ensure good management of the electoral process and to train SCER staff in administration of elections. It will also be used to help increase participation, particularly by women, in the electoral process and political life through a public information campaign conducted by the SCER in cooperation with civil society organisations.

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