Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20-39)

Mr Tim Cole, Mr Tim Williams, Ms Melinda Simmons and Mr Andrew Key

29 APRIL 2004

  Q20  Lord Lea of Crondall: On the 1 per cent of world FDI, which is a very striking figure—and Africa has got 10 per cent of the world's population at roughly 800 million out of 8 billion—countries with that sort of size or a bit bigger, China and India, have a vastly bigger percentage of (a) domestically generated investment, whether public or private investments, and (b) international inward investment and therefore they are on track for 7, 8, 9 10 per cent growth rates to meet the millennium development goal by 2015. Africa is not on track; it is going backwards. The question arises: are we on the right agenda? It is very striking that Charles Snyder, the US Under-Secretary of State, a couple of days ago in London presented a view of the world and the thrust of an agenda which is essentially that unless private capital can find a home for investment, forget everything else. For Africa, would you comment on the proposition that there is a huge bilateral/multilateral effort coming from America which may or may not coincide with the agenda we are talking about but it is very much looking at the obstacles to private investment and everything else is begging the big question as to how the growth rates in Africa will actually be augmented? Could you comment on that?

  Mr Williams: Yes, certainly I can give some comments, although I am not an economist. The key issue, which the Americans and we all agree on, is that it is the investment climate itself which determines the amount of foreign direct investment which is received. If the climate presents opportunities, if the governance structures, ie property rights in this particular case, are fairly stable, then you will receive foreign direct investment. Where those governance and macroeconomic fundamentals are not solid and/or opportunities for turning a profit are not there, then obviously investment is low relative to elsewhere. That essentially explains the discrepancy between Africa and many other parts of the world. With regard to what we are doing, as in British Government, DFID in this case, and also the Foreign Office, through investment promotion, we do have programmes very similar to the USAID projects which work on removing barriers to trade, to investment, to growth. In our country offices I would think all country offices in Africa do have programmes where we are working with governments to reduce red tape, increase the capacities of commercial courts, ensure investment promotion on their part, look at standards and procedures, et cetera, if they need to pass through hoops with regard to export possibilities. We are ourselves doing work on this area in line and commonly with the Americans. Also, I note that the EU, and I know certainly some country offices, also support activities which promote and enhance investment in countries, either directly or indirectly. So there is work going on. It is certainly not just the Americans. You are very right in noting that it is a very major thrust of American aid. One comment, though, on that American aid: we often work with governments to help them, for example set up and establish or make better commercial courts. Getting redress on contracts is a critical issue for inward investment. Because of the way the Americans fund, which is normally not with governments, the Americans do not do that kind of thing; they do other types of activities. I think there are complementary roles being played here between agencies.

  Q21  Lord Maclennan of Rogart: Does your study on barriers to trade seek to make any assessment statistically of the extent to which democratic shortcomings constitute a barrier to trade? A priori, the presence or absence of a commercial court may be very important but if there is a totally corrupt judicial system which is lacking in any skills, that is a political phenomenon usually; it is not a technical question. The host government or the receiving government may not be sensitive to suggestions about commercial courts in such circumstances. How much profile do you give to these questions?

  Mr Williams: Your question is extremely interesting. I think it revolves around a critical issue which is: to what extent are formalised and functioning institutions of state a necessary precondition for growth—in other words investment? This area of study is very hot in universities around the world at the moment with different large empirical studies trying to prove one way or another if formal institutions are a fundamental precondition or can growth happen regardless of the formal institutional structures. We had a conference in DFID last November where we brought a number of academics together to argue the different sides of this particular issue. In short, the answer is that I think there is a broad agreement that key institutions, for instance property rights, are fundamental to growth but that, whereas we might think of that as being a formalised system, shall we, say, in this case a court for commercial redress, in fact informal forms of these same institutions can exist. I give an example here that the academics are very fond of, and that is that in China the actual legal underpinnings for investment—company ownership, relations between companies and the state—are completely—if you read the papers—non-conducive to making investments in China. However, it is well understood that informally you can have agreements at national or at sub-national level which essentially give you enough confidence to make your investments, and people do go in and make those investments, and China has grown. So it has a set of informal property rights which have underpinned a very strong trajectory of growth whereas in a hypothetical country in Africa it may have a very sound set of laws on paper which of course are not being followed in practice. The essence of what the academics are trying to say is that there are fundamental issues that you need to look at, not the formal structures necessarily. It is important but to try to understand the dynamics of the governance structure underneath because that is more important than any signed formal law. As you say, a commercial court may or may not make a difference. However, we are faced with a dilemma in terms of development systems. One level is obviously a political level and the other level is a technical level and obviously we try to ensure that our development assistance is targeted to technical solutions which in some senses chime with the underlying flow of political reform and development. I can quote an example of setting up a commercial court in Uganda which I think has been a relatively successful operation because this has very much chimed with an underlying push by the President and a number of others to enhance economic growth whereas of course such a thing perhaps might not work in another country where the underlying dynamics were not suitable.

  Q22  Lord Maclennan of Rogart: It does seem to me that this is not a particularly fruitful test. Many countries would offer to settle, and indeed would be required, particularly by American investors, to agree to settle their disputes by reference to a third country's legal system, a third country's system of arbitration or something of that sort outside of the territory but what really is critical is whether when push comes to shove the political situation would allow any kind of settlement to take place or the participation of the government or the companies which are controlled by the government and so I just wonder how you build that in. What assumptions are being made in the European Union and in this country? Do you rate countries for that kind of investment using criteria about governance? Something of that sort would obviously act as an incentive to countries that were low on the rating assessments to do something about it—or might.

  Mr Williams: Or might. We would hope I think is the answer. Of course what you are talking about here are decisions being made by private investors to move into African countries.

  Q23  Lord Maclennan of Rogart: Well that affects the one per cent.

  Mr Williams: One per cent of world FDI. The fact is that over the last few years Africa has received very, very little foreign direct investment. In terms of assessing risks there are a number of commercial risk measurement firms and indices which companies do look to, people read the Economic Intelligence Unit country reports et cetera when they are making their investment decisions.

  Q24  Lord Maclennan of Rogart: But does that affect government/public investment as well as private investment?

  Mr Williams: Yes it does, to quite a large extent. In terms of our aid allocations what we look for in countries in the first case nowadays is a commitment obviously to poverty reduction, and secondly a suitable set of institutions and a commitment to improving those institutions, so there is a governance aspect to our aid allocations. What we and the international community have now more and more moved towards, including the European Union, is putting as a centrepiece of our dialogue with countries their poverty reduction strategies and the country's adherence to those plans and their efforts to achieve the objectives or the outcomes set up in those plans is a central factor to our involvement and the EU's involvement in Africa, programmatically and project-wise, at the moment. Obviously one of the critical issues within the poverty reduction strategy papers and plans is a commitment to improve various fundamental systems of governance such as their public financial management and accountability systems and often their justice systems. These are very important preconditions but it is not to say that we have absolute standards, let me be very clear on that. It is not that we have a way of assessing a bar and above the bar is okay and below the bar is not. There is a particular example that I could give of that which seeks to show that. We moved in to support Rwanda very early after the genocide taking enormous "risks" on the government coming in. We came up with support for them ahead of others. If we had had a bar on when we could enter we could never have entered Rwanda. In fact that investment has been, I would say, extremely beneficial to Rwandees as it has helped them get on a roll for the development.

  Chairman: We have spent quite a lot of time on critical, important issues about governance and the rule of law but perhaps it is an appropriate time to ask Baroness Park to introduce the specific question of Zimbabwe because we talked in generality and I think we would like to address that specific question.

  Q25  Baroness Park of Monmouth: As you know, what we are asking you is whether the EU intends to place further pressure on the AU to take an active stand over Zimbabwe and whether you consider that lack of response undermines its democratic credibility. I think that my colleague Lord Maclennan seemed to suggest that if we talk to Africans about human rights it is rather condescending and improper and so I would like to remind everybody that Desmond Tutu and Archbishop Ndungane recently said that there are no such things as African human rights; there are human rights, and that the EU and the AU should be doing something about that. That is two eminent Africans who took that position. I realise you will probably say that whatever I say it has to be done as part of diplomacy and it will not have any effect otherwise, but one cannot but notice that first of all it has proved impossible to raise the question of Zimbabwe at the UNHCR or the UN and we are always told by ministers that that is because the African Union as a bloc has prevented further discussion. One last point, I notice that you have recently given four million euros to Chad for the relief of the terrible suffering of the people coming over from Darfor as a result of Sudanese action. I would be interested to know whether when we did that the EU said to the AU, "What are you doing to bring pressure on Sudan to stop this?" I just would like to know what is said already and what perhaps should be said. The last question of all is: are the French a problem in all this?

  Mr Cole: The answer to the last question is easy. We are the EU and we have an EU policy and clearly both the French and the United Kingdom are part of the EU.

  Q26  Baroness Park of Monmouth: That is not what I meant.

  Mr Cole: None of us is Zimbabwe experts and our ministers have set out on several occasions in the House what our position on Zimbabwe is.

  Q27  Baroness Park of Monmouth: That is not what I am interested in, I am interested in what the EU are doing and us as a member of the EU.

  Mr Cole: At the EU-Africa Ministerial Troika on 1 April Zimbabwe was discussed and I can tell you what was said. "The European side expressed its concern at the continuing deterioration of human rights in Zimbabwe. It stressed that restrictive measures do not target the general population. The African side underscored the importance of the resolution of the land issue in Zimbabwe in addressing the historic injustice that resulted in skewed land ownership. Ministers acknowledged the need to encourage meaningful internal dialogue in Zimbabwe as the way forward." That is not first time Zimbabwe has been on the agenda for discussion.

  Q28  Baroness Park of Monmouth: But why do we accept the AU preventing discussion of it in international fora such as the UN and, incidentally, I notice that on the issue of The Sudan in an article in The Observer on Sunday it says that the role of the European Union, including the delegation from the United Kingdom, was very disappointing and they needed to adopt condemnation of the atrocities in Darfor. The writer says that they voted for the watered down resolution which did not condemn the crimes against humanity going on in Darfor. They also voted to adjourn before a vote was taken on a much tougher resolution and Honduras, a very small country, did more for human rights in The Sudan than the entire EU when it voted not to adjourn before the issue was given the attention it deserved. I accept that we cannot argue with their assessment of what happens inside Zimbabwe but is the EU expecting a quid pro quo for all the help that they are getting in asking them to refrain from preventing public discussion in international fora of the problems of Zimbabwe?

  Mr Cole: We might need to write to you on the question of the AU blocking discussion in the UNHCR for example. It is a regular part of the discussion we have in the EU-Africa dialogue and it is the reason why the EU-Africa summit has not taken place since Cairo. There has not been a meeting at the heads of state level because the participation of all heads of state could not be guaranteed. Clearly the targeted measures on Zimbabwe would mean that President Mugabe could not have come to the summit in Lisbon where it was planned to take place and had he been there clearly some European leaders would not have been able to attend so the discussion at summit level, the EU-Africa dialogue, has not taken place because of the situation in Zimbabwe and our targeted measures on that country. Perhaps we should write to you on the question.

  Chairman: I am sure that would be very helpful. I do not want to curtail the discussion but I am conscious that we may be interrupted shortly.

  Lord Lea of Crondall: May I ask a brief supplementary to that, Chairman?

  Chairman: Yes, forgive me, if we could be brief because I would like to get on to Baroness Northover's question.

  Q29  Lord Lea of Crondall: Relations with France have been mentioned in this context and just as there are two very big elephants in the EU on Africa because of our huge ex-colonial responsibilities, Britain and France, likewise, I suppose there are very big elephants in Africa—South Africa, Nigeria and so on. In what sense is the EU in encouraging, promoting or being conducive just by the fact that this dialogue with the EU is going on forcing us to have closer relations with France. We are trying to get closer relations with France. Could you comment on that?

  Mr Cole: I think the relationship with France is extremely close on Africa, we work very closely with them. At every United Kingdom/France summit we have had we always have a declaration on Africa and we are working more and more closely with them in support of the AU for example and in support of ECOWAS and other sub-regional organisations. Most of the area of the work we do is actually on peace and security aspects in Africa because certainly in West Africa that is where the French have a very strong interest. Also recently there was a discussion with the head of DGCID, which is the French equivalent of DFID. He came to London for a day's discussions and we covered a whole range of issues. That is certainly a very strong aspect of our work.

  Chairman: I am afraid that we will have to adjourn now, there is a Division in the House.

The Committee suspended from 11.57am to 12.07 pm for a division in the House.

  Chairman: My Lords, may we continue then with the questions and perhaps I could turn to Baroness Northover.

  Baroness Northover: Mine is the question as to how the Commission for Africa fits in with this and whether you expect AU opinions to have an influence on the eventual report. However, if I could also ask more generally, you have made it very clear obviously that the AU is in its infancy at the moment but one area that they are particularly concerned should be on the agenda is that of development and so I wondered if you could say something about what role you think the AU will play in this and, in particular, do you see any evidence that they will be impressing on countries within Africa to take forward the numerous things that need to be done to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic?

  Q30  Chairman: Before you answer, if Baroness Northover will forgive me, perhaps in answering that question, because I think it sort of goes together, there was a question earlier which was not actually put about the future of NEPAD and the ACP country groupings so while we are talking about where does the Commission fit in, how do you see the future for those organisations, as well as Baroness Northover's question?

  Ms Simmons: If I could start on the Commission for Africa and hand over to the other Tim on the other issue. The Commission for Africa is also in its infancy and its first meeting of the commissioners is next week. The principle is that there is going to be a very wide consultation, including within the European Union and the African Union, but because of the time involved—a report has got to be finalised by next spring—it is likely that their consultations will happen back-to-back with existing meetings so where the African Union is concerned they are planning on a consultation after the African Union Summit which will happen in July. You might be aware that President Konaré was invited to join the Commission for Africa but was not able to—he is a busy man—but he did ask if he could be involved in setting up the consultations both within the African Union and in relation to NEPAD, so they are going to be closely involved in the debates that will go on within Africa. As to whether their opinions will have an influence on the report it is very early to say and there will be a lot of people consulted but their views are going to be taken on and discussed in the same way as we will be talking to bilateral donors, to the private sector, to civil society, to African and non-African stakeholders, so it is a very wide range of people but certainly the African Union has been prioritised. Tim, do you want to talk about the future of NEPAD?

  Mr Williams: I think the question you asked was about NEPAD's future and the development agenda of the Africa Union. As noted, the Africa Union adopted NEPAD as its development agenda in July 2003. Under NEPAD there are a number of themes, including HIV/AIDS, trade, regional integration, infrastructure. Now NEPAD and the Africa Union are not setting themselves up to do those things; this has to be very clear. They are setting themselves up to make sure that the agenda is set with their relations with other countries on these particular issues. They are distilling, if you want, best practice and producing papers on these issues. They will have conferences or facilitate under the umbrella of NEPAD/AU conferences on some of those issues, so they promote, they profile, but they do not do themselves. They are creating an environment in which national governments see that the pan-African priorities are these and then it is for the particular governments themselves obviously to undertake programmes and projects within that particular area. The one kind of exception on that, of course, is the issue around regional integration and the issue, for instance, of cross-border infrastructure where there may be, it is unclear, more work between NEPAD and the regional economic communities, the so-called RECs. These are the different groupings—ECOWAS, SADAC, COMESSA, East African Community—which many see as the building blocks of the development agenda of the Africa Union. They will be working with those, so in short answer to your question, yes, the AU will be doing something but it is about setting agendas and profiling and promoting; it will not be about activities.

  Q31  Baroness Northover: And do you see that underway at the moment? Does it look hopeful as far as you are concerned?

  Mr Williams: Very much so. NEPAD as a theme has started to bite, shall we say. There is a regional office for NEPAD for example just opened in Kenya. The Kenyan government want to promote NEPAD and themes within NEPAD and have started moving things along. I think it is also true to say NEPAD is essentially in many senses a political initiative; it is to help drive forward a progressive development agenda in African countries and, as such, it still runs at a political level. It is unfortunate that some people would like to see tangible things come from NEPAD. "What has NEPAD given to me?" The truth is NEPAD itself is going to give a political momentum to these key development issues. It is not going to provide school books, shall we say; it is not going to do that.

  Q32  Lord Lea of Crondall: A supplementary to this, and perhaps Mr Key can bring in his point as he is indicating as well. One view of the new thrust of this ambitious constitution for the Africa Union is to put NEPAD back in its box. We had an interesting session in the African Group with Mr Ameoko who is Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. I think it is fair to say—his view was this (it is my recollection but it is something along these lines:) "Well, of course just relying on all the African Union ambassadors in Addis Ababa will get you nowhere. We have got to have a Praetorian Guard. We have got to have some set-up with more thrust, personal diplomacy with the President of Nigeria, or what have you." So it is a slightly odd anomaly with NEPAD having some sort of personality as well as the Africa Union. I suppose we have got to see how it goes but how do you see the relationship between Johannesburg, which is the power house of Africa in the sense that it is where NEPAD is, it is where money is and so on, and the extremely poor country of Ethiopia which happens to be where the African Union is. It is very, very interesting because in one sense that is where the realities of the polarity of Africa are, but how do we understand this relationship between the African Union and NEPAD? I hope we do not conclude that we think that the African Union's ambitions are motivated in order to put NEPAD back in its box because if that were the case we will not be able to have north-south regional accountability because nobody would be able to deliver anything to anybody. Could you comment on that?

  Mr Williams: Yes, I can certainly. The Africa Union I think in July in Maputo last year agreed to integrate NEPAD's management mechanism into the African Union within three years, so I think by 2006. When I was in Addis Ababa last I spoke to Mr Mazimhaka, the Deputy Commissioner of the AU on this particular issue and his comment was, "Yes, we are going to integrate it but it depends how you define integration." There are two ways that it may be integrated. One is you could mainstream it, so close down the offices in South Africa and bring the whole operation under a particular arm of the AU as it functions under the Commission in Addis Ababa, or, alternatively, it could be allowed to function as a separate "agency" of the Africa Union which would mean, I think, changing some aspects of management and maybe some aspects of legislation to say that it is a part of the AU under control policy wise but physically existing separately. Now I believe that this debate again is one of these issues which will be resolved after the July 2004 AU summit. Certainly that was what was hinted at by Mr Mazimhaka.

  Mr Key: I just wondered whether you wanted an answer to the question related to MEDA and ACP country groupings. If that would be useful I could say a few words on that. The answer generally is yes, those two country groupings will continue to exist and are complementary to the relationship with the Africa Union as a whole. The EU has dialogues and relationships with Africa, it has them with regions of Africa, and some elements of the ACP relationship are taken forward with regional groupings, such as the trade aspect, and with individual countries, such as aid programmes to individual countries and in the case of South Africa there is also a relationship. Indeed, within EUROMED we have association agreements with each of the individual countries, these Agreements include mechanisms for dialogue through association councils. I think they will continue to exist partly because the nature of the relationship is slightly different. The northern African countries that are part of the Euromed partnership are neighbours to the EU and the EU sees the southern Mediterranean as part of its neighbourhood. And of course, the Euromed partnership also includes countries that are not in Africa—Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey. And likewise there is a special history to the relationship with the ACP countries, and that in its own way is underpinned by a special sense of partnership and again has a membership that goes more wide than Africa—the Caribbean and Pacific—being particularly more important to the United Kingdom but also to France and others. In the discussions in the EU I see very little, if any, appetite to change the basis of those groupings in themselves. There are some proposals in relation to the mechanisms for the funding of support to the countries that might change the technical arrangements for getting money from A to B, but those are at a very initial stage of discussion and they have not been fleshed out, they have not been discussed at any council, we do not know how they will come out. Irrespective of that, I would expect to see these two partnerships carrying on essentially in parallel with developing a relationship with the Africa Union.

  Q33  Baroness Park of Monmouth: Could I ask a supplementary, my Lord Chairman. Bob Geldof is an important part of the Commission for Africa and I note that he has been complaining that the EDF has a lot of money that ought to have been given to AIDS and has not been. That was replied to by Mr Neilson and he said they are working with the ACP to find the funds, but the AU policy on AIDS as it was enunciated by President Gaddafi and I think echoed by quite a number of other countries, seemed to be that they did not recognise that AIDS really existed. What is going to be the situation if the Commission decides that AIDS is an important issue—which it is—is the AU going to reject working with that or not?

  Mr Williams: Could I comment on the issues to do with the AIDS policy of the Africa Union. I think, with all respect to Mr Gaddafi, the NEPAD documents are very clear about how the Africa Union understand the pandemic and its impact and effects on Africa, and it is in line with our understanding of the tragedy. It promotes different ways to tackle and different interventions to work with the AIDS pandemic and, again, they are very much in line with how we are approaching it.

  Mr Key: Can I add to that in terms of the funding through the EDF, if the Commission believes it is worth working with countries in Africa on AIDS, and those countries want to, the partnership will allow them to do that and it will not be affected by any policy or misrepresented statement of policy made by somebody in the Africa Union.

  Ms Simmons: Two immediate points, one is that is why it is so important the Commission for Africa when they do their consultations do conduct them within the African Union and the Member States and the related frameworks that serve them. The other point perhaps worth raising is in connection with Baroness Northover's earlier question on HIV is the Africa Partnership Forum, the expanded G8 dialogue, which has four co-chairs. One is the chair of the Africa Union, one is the NEPAD Secretariat and the others are an OECD country, which this year is Belgium, and the G8, which this year is the US. At the Maputo forum which took place two weeks ago there was a session on HIV which was agreed to be one of the four priority issues for the Africa Partners Forum, which was chaired by Simâo of Mozambique in his capacity as representative of the African Union, and the NEPAD principles were all accepted in that discussion, so Tim's point about there being significant space between one view and the African Union's endorsement of NEPAD I think was echoed there.

  Chairman: Lastly perhaps, if there are no other questions on that, can I just pose a question Lord Powell was going to ask but he has had to go?

  Lord Inge: He has asked me to ask it.

  Chairman: Please do.

  Lord Inge: No, because I would rather ask another question!

  Q34  Chairman: The Chairman is at the behest of the Committee! What measures are in place to ensure the adequate financial scrutiny of the 250 million euros that you have already mentioned allocated for the EDF to support peace-keeping and capacity-building operations? I think there is a concern as to what arrangements are there.

  Mr Key: If I may answer that one. Those issues have been discussed in the EU and the EU set out ways in which the money will be monitored. From the start I should say that the funds were established on the basis of partnership so it will be a process of joint monitoring. It falls into four stages. The first is that all projects being funded will be approved by European Union consultation both in the Council and in the EDF Management Committee, so there is an element of both Commission and Council involvement which will result in the signing of a contribution agreement setting out the terms of the funding. There will then be a joint steering committee between the Africa Union and the European Union and in this case chaired by the AU and the Commission. That will meet twice yearly and will look at any issues which are brought to its attention in terms of problems with any of the funding. The third element is monitoring by the Commission. The Commission requires the recipient of the funds, whether that is the Africa Union or a regional organisation, to provide regular, proper financial reports setting out how the funds are being used, ensuring appropriate use of the funding. Fourthly, there will be a process of review and evaluation both of the individual projects and in the case of capacity building projects that will be a combination of mid-term reviews and final reviews, in the case of operations it is the final review, but also of the operation of the fund as a whole. When the Union decided to establish the fund it was agreed that there would be a review after one year of the establishment which will look at how well it is working.

  Q35  Chairman: Is the decision of the council by QMV or unanimity?

  Mr Key: The EDF Management Committee is QMV but the Peace and Security Committee and the Council working groups looking at this would be operating by unanimity where they are talking about elements to do with common foreign and security policy.

  Chairman: I think it is a very interesting point. I would just say to members of the Committee there was an answer given in these papers to the point that we raised about Articles 96 and 97 on Kosovo which is far from clear to me. Anyway, I will not pursue it now. Lord Inge?

  Lord Inge: Do you mind if I ask this question, my Lord Chairman?

  Chairman: Please do.

  Lord Inge: I suppose I could from the position that Europe has a real responsibility to try and help Africa which itself has enormous problems. If Clausewitz were sitting here he would be saying to himself but what should be the priorities for action by the Europeans to help Africa, and I would like to know what you think.

  Chairman: Do you want to reply in writing?

  Q36  Lord Inge: I want to know what the priorities should be. Do not get in the weeds, give me the clear priorities you think we should be concentrating on.

  Mr Cole: In support of Africa?

  Q37  Lord Inge: The European Union to help Africa.

  Mr Williams: Can I just divide the issue?

  Q38  Lord Inge: Do what you want!

  Mr Williams: Thank you. I think there are what I would call diplomatic initiatives at one level and then there are the developmental policy and programmatic initiatives at another level. If I can maybe comment on programmatic and developmental issues. I think the new paradigm of supporting poverty reduction strategies in countries, in other words countries that are showing ownership and clarity about moving forwards, has to be a paradigm that I hope we will stick with for a long while because all research has always shown that if you are going to get positive change in institutions or in countries it must be driven from within and it cannot be very easily imposed from outside. So I would hope that the EU will stick with its current policy framework which is that in countries in which it is operating it is highly supportive of these new frameworks, which are sectoral programmes in health, education, water, law and justice and wider broader programmes of macroeconomic good governance and governance as well. I would hope this will be the main priority. Then of course there is the issue that more funding is needed.

  Q39  Lord Inge: I just want the priorities.

  Mr Williams: The priorities I would say are to support where possible African-led development initiatives. Where you have countries where there are security concerns, again I think the EU's initiative must be to empower, if we can, the Africa peace initiatives through the Peace and Security Council and the Africa Standby Force. These must be the priorities; to get Africans running Africa, to get Africans regulating Africa.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006