Previous Section Index Home Page

8 Jun 2006 : Column 765W—continued

8 Jun 2006 : Column 766W

President Mwanawasa of Zambia and I met in February 2005 and emphasised the importance of continued commitment to combating corruption and continuing improvement of public financial management.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations his Department has made to the World Bank regarding its Africa Plan; and if he will make a statement. [73583]

Hilary Benn: The World Bank's Africa Action Plan, endorsed by Bank Governors at their annual meeting in Washington in September 2005, forms part of the Bank's response to the commitments made at Gleneagles last June. DFID officials discuss the Plan regularly with Bank staff. I raised implementation of its recommendations at the Bank's spring meetings in April this year, and look forward to discussing progress in the first year by the time of this year's annual meeting of Governors in September.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the implications of the World Bank Africa Plan for efforts to address climate change; and if he will make a statement. [73582]

Hilary Benn: The World Bank’s Africa Action Plan does not specifically address climate change. However, the World Bank fully recognises the severity of the impact climate change will have in Africa and is committed to helping countries address these. It is also looking at improving the ways African countries can benefit from a global shift towards cleaner energy, through carbon finance projects, for example.

Last year at Gleneagles the G8 asked the World Bank to lead the development of a new global investment framework to speed up the adoption of cleaner energy in developing countries to help address climate change. As part of this framework the World Bank is also developing approaches to help countries adapt to the impact of climate change. This work was discussed by governors at the World Bank's Spring Meetings in April. In my written statement to the Development Committee at the Spring Meetings I welcomed the valuable work the World Bank had done so far and stressed the need for this to be developed further by the Annual Meetings in September. I also said that helping member countries meet the challenges of climate change should be a key objective of the World Bank over the coming years. The statement is available on DFID's website at:

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to improve the governance of the Democratic Republic of Congo's natural resource wealth. [74834]

Hilary Benn: Improving the management of natural resource and improving revenue generation in the DRC
8 Jun 2006 : Column 767W
is one of the main features of DFID's Country Engagement Plan for DRC. DFID funded the non-governmental organisation Global Witness to conduct research on natural resources in the Great Lakes region, and we have now developed a plan for long term involvement in the sector.

DFID and the World Bank have been leading support to the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in DRC—which aims to improve revenue transparency between government and mining companies.

DFID is also involved in the development of the World Bank's plans to support implementation of the DRC's forestry code—to ensure it provides for a sustainable timber business in DRC, and protects the livelihoods of forest dwelling communities and the environment.

We are now developing a large programme of support to the minerals sector. This is likely to include continuing support to the implementation of the EITI, support for efforts to improve the regulation of companies involved in minerals extraction, and developing partnerships with the private sector to provide services to mining communities.

Departmental Office Expenditure

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent on the running of the Department's office in (a) Accra, (b) Luanda, (c) Makurdi, (d) Kinshasa, (e) Banjul, (f) Nairobi, (g) Maseru, (h) Lilongwe, (i) Maputo, (j) Kigali, (k) Khartoum, (l) Dar es Salaam, (m) Kampala, (n) Lusaka, (o) Harare, (p) Addis Ababa, (q) Bujumbura, (r) Abuga, (s) Ekiti, (t) Jigawa and (u) Enugu in 2004-05. [73560]

Hilary Benn: The following table shows how much was spent (on administrative resources) running these offices during the financial year 2004-05:

Office Cost (£ million)

(a) Accra—Ghana


(b) Luanda—Angola


(c) Makurdi—Nigeria


(d) Kinshasa—DRC


(e) Banjul—Gambia


(f) Nairobi—Kenya


(g) Maseru—Lesotho


(h) Lilongwe—Malawi


(i) Maputo—Mozambique


(j) Kigali—Rwanda


(k) Khartoum—Sudan


(l) Dar Es Salaam—Tanzania


(m) Kampala—Uganda


(n) Lusaka—Zambia


(o) Harare—Zimbabwe


(p) Addis Ababa—Ethiopia


(q) Bujumbura—Burundi


(r) Abuja—Nigeria


(s) Ekiti—Nigeria


(t) Jigawa—Nigeria


(u) Enugu—Nigeria


8 Jun 2006 : Column 768W

Departmental Staff

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department have had (a) 5 or more, (b) 4, (c) 3 and (d) 2 periods of sick leave of less than 5 days in each of the last 3 years. [72999]

Mr. Thomas: This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

DFID is committed to managing sickness absence effectively. Our average working days sick absence per staff year fell from 7 days in 2003 to 4.8 days in 2004. Figures for 2005 are not yet available. We are currently in the process of reviewing our data retrieval requirements with the objective of increasing our ability to access information on a more flexible basis than at present.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pension. [73003]

Mr. Thomas: Members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) can pay additional contributions to top up their pension either through the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (CSAVCS), a money purchase arrangement, or by buying added years of service in the PCSPS. As an alternative to membership of the PCSPS recruits from 1 October 2002 have been able to join a stakeholder arrangement, the partnership pension account.

The number and percentage of staff in the Department for International Development who are making additional voluntary contributions to their pension as at 26 May 2006 are shown in the table.

Number Percentage




Added Years






Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what measures of (a) project and (b) staff performance are in place in his Department. [74831]

Mr. Thomas: The information requested is as follows.

(a) DFID rates the performance of its projects and programmes on a five point scale. This assessment is required for all bilateral projects/programmes with a commitment value of £1 million or more and takes place annually while the project is running and at the completion of the project.

DFID uses this performance information in our Public Service Agreement (PSA) ‘value for money’ target.

8 Jun 2006 : Column 769W

(b) Beginning in 2006 DFID has introduced staff performance arrangements which focus on individual delivery of outputs against agreed objectives. There are three categories of performance:

Assessments are completed annually at the end of March.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure that UK aid to Ethiopia is not used for military spending; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of Ethiopian GDP that its defence spending represents. [74615]

Hilary Benn: For this Ethiopian fiscal year, 2005-06, defence expenditure is budgeted to amount to 2.9 per cent. of GDP. In recent years, the Ethiopian Government has maintained its defence budget in constant cash terms, so it has declined as a percentage of GDP.

We no longer provide budget support to the Government of Ethiopia and all our funds are provided for specific purposes. We receive regular accounts of expenditures and monitor the delivery of services.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what account was taken of the disputed election in Ethiopia in allocating UK aid to that country. [74620]

Hilary Benn: My written statement of 24 January 2006 explained to the House that as a result of concerns over human rights and governance in Ethiopia following the disputed 2005 election, UK and all other donors who had been giving direct budget support to the Government of Ethiopia has decided to withhold this form of support. We wrote to the Minister of Finance in December to explain this decision.

I made clear that the UK would work with other donors to continue to support the poorest people in Ethiopia. On 26 May, I announced approval of the Protection of Basic Services Grant, which has been developed by the World Bank and DFID. Through this grant, funds will be earmarked for use at the regional and local level to deliver essential services in education, health, agriculture and water. There will be a strong focus on transparency and accountability. The World Bank will provide over £120 million of funding, and DFID will provide £94 million over two years. The Netherlands will also be contributing and other donors are considering contributions.

I will place a statement in the House setting out more information on these two schemes shortly.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether his Department is involved in planning for the Guinean 2007 legislative elections; [74828]

8 Jun 2006 : Column 770W

(2) whether his Department is providing assistance to Guinea (a) to reform the country's electoral commission and (b) for other political reforms; [74841]

(3) whether his Department is supporting the development of rural radio stations in Guinea. [74829]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development's support to Guinea in these areas is through the European Union's assistance programme to improve the climate for democracy and the rule of law. Following commitments made by the Guinean authorities in April 2005, the EU agreed to unspent funding being used for programmes supporting the poorest parts of society, for civil society and the promotion of good governance, democracy and human rights. It includes:

We shall continue to monitor the progress made.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department has allocated to Guinea over the next three years. [74840]

Hilary Benn: The Department for International Development does not have a bilateral development programme in Guinea nor plans to establish one. We provide support through the European Union and multilateral agencies, which amounted to an estimated £7.8 million in 2003.

We are concerned about the political and humanitarian situation, and provided £750,000 in preventative humanitarian assistance in 2005-06. A similar commitment is planned this financial year.

Illegal Immigrants

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by his Department in each year since 2001; in what capacities they were employed; how many were discovered as part of a criminal investigation; and what the nature of the charges brought against them were. [73957]

Mr. Thomas: I can confirm that no illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by DFID since 2001. Nationality checks are carried out as part of the recruitment process before any individual is appointed to DFID. We have not included any agency workers, contractors or consultants as these individuals are not employed directly by DFID.

Next Section Index Home Page