Africa (Economic Development)

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 2016.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Chair, Regulatory Reform Committee 12:00 am, 16th November 2016

What steps her Department is taking to promote economic development in Africa.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

Last month in Kenya, I saw the life-saving impact of UK aid on the ground when it comes to combating drought, hunger and disease. I also saw how innovation can not only result in UK aid reaching more people, but help people to look at the long-term economic opportunities to tackle poverty and bring economic growth.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Chair, Regulatory Reform Committee

Does my right hon. Friend agree that working in partnership with Governments, businesses and investors around the world to transform economies and trading relationships, particularly in developing countries, should be a vital part of our UK diplomatic effort and our long-term prosperity strategy, especially as we approach Brexit?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. No country can defeat poverty without economic growth. Jobs, trade and investment are central to that, and the United Kingdom will be at the forefront of championing economic development and helping the poorest in the world to work their way out of poverty.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy)

The current inquiry by the all-party group on Africa into trade and economic development has highlighted the critical role of agriculture and agribusiness in supporting economic development, and the importance that many African Governments place on that. What is the Department doing specifically to support that and to encourage British manufacturing to support Africa’s growing agribusiness?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

I am delighted that the hon. Lady raises these important sectors. She is right to do so, because of the youth dividend across Africa and the enormous potential for those sectors. DFID is leading the way when it comes to agri-development and investing through CDC and other organisations. British firms are playing a strategic role here, too. This comes back to the point that no country can defeat poverty without economic growth, and these are the core sectors that are crucial to the delivery of prosperity and jobs across Africa.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

Economic development in Africa is very reliant on tourism. What does the Secretary of State feel about the continued slaughter of elephants and the fact that it will have a devastating effect on the tourist business?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

My hon. Friend raises a very important and controversial issue. The protection of wildlife in Africa is a priority for the Government, and we have a strategy to address it. Tourism is of course important across Africa. I have visited not just Kenya, but Sierra Leone, another country that needs to get back to investing in tourism, and that is something we can help with in the long run.

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that UK taxpayers are reassured about the way in which our money is spent, and that accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure proper value for money?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the whole issue of value for money, which we in DFID will champion on behalf of British taxpayers. It is right that money goes to the right countries and the right people, because every pound that is not spent in the right way means that people do not get access to life-saving treatment or poverty reduction. Our mission in the Department is to ensure that we can eradicate poverty, but also to make sure that the money goes exactly where it needs to go.