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Poverty Reduction (Africa)

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 12th January 2011.

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Photo of Richard Ottaway Richard Ottaway Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 11:30 am, 12th January 2011

What his Department's policy is on reducing poverty in Africa.

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

DFID's policy for reducing poverty in Africa focuses, alongside country Governments, on achieving the millennium development goals, including through wealth creation, strengthening governance and security, improving the lives of women and girls, and tackling climate change. We will implement this policy in a cost-effective and transparent way.

Photo of Richard Ottaway Richard Ottaway Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee

The Minister and I agree that no country has got itself out of poverty without first addressing population growth, and I congratulate the Department on what it is doing in that area. Does he agree, however, that much aid in Africa comes through non-governmental organisations? To what extent are they taking on the need to address population policies?

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

I thank my hon. Friend for his observations. Last month, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched the framework for results for improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health. It was developed in consultation with NGOs, and it has been widely disseminated and welcomed. Work is under way with NGOs at an international, regional and, indeed, country level to ensure that women have reproductive health choices and to improve the quality and accessibility of services such as those in Malawi, which demonstrates that real progress has been made in ensuring that we tackle the priority of population effects.

Photo of Russell Brown Russell Brown Shadow Minister (Defence)

What assessment have the Minister and the Secretary of State made of the humanitarian situation in Côte d'Ivoire, and what support has his Department provided?

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

We are giving support primarily through the Red Cross, and we support the measures taken by the EU and the African Union to bring about a peaceful transfer of power in Ivory Coast, which will have the greatest effect on humanitarian interests, including the EU visa ban on Laurent Gbagbo and his closest advisers. We certainly support the UN's position in declaring the presidential election valid, and in insisting that Mr Ouattara is the legitimate winner. The UK stands ready to help through our trusted partners if the humanitarian situation deteriorates.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

Access to sanitation is one of the millennium development goals, and will sadly be missed by a mile, but it is hugely relevant to almost every country in Africa. What extra assistance can the Minister's excellent Department give over the next 12 months to try to improve access to water and sanitation for the people of that continent?

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and I can certainly assure him that the way in which work will be implemented to achieve access to clean water and better sanitation is central to the programmes developed under the bilateral and multilateral aid reviews, and will be announced in the relatively near future.