Self-Reliance in Poor Countries Oct02

Bashir Khanbhai, Conservative MEP for the East of England, has received overwhelming support from the European Parliament for his own-initiative report on EU aid to encourage self-reliance in developing countries.

The report, presented to the Parliament's meeting in Strasbourg today, emphasises that in order to eradicate poverty, the EU must direct future aid programmes towards establishing capacity of food production and support for the basic needs of the population, such as health and education.

"This would give the world's poorest people a stake in their own rural economies," said Mr Khanbhai.

The issue of EU and US farm subsidies and the need for urgent reform is also addressed in Mr Khanbhai's report. He stresses that the generous subsidies allocated to Western farmers, e.g. CAP, have resulted in huge food surpluses that are often dumped on the markets of poor countries, devastating local farmers.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Khanbhai said, "Almost 1 billion people living on less than US$1 a day, live in rural areas of developing countries. I have always stressed the importance of encouraging self-reliance and I believe that this should be achieved through investment, technology transfer and technical training in rural areas.

"Financial aid and the transfer of skills is still not enough, however. We need institutional reform, not just by promoting good governance in developing countries, but also by reducing the unfair subsidies in the West which lead to the damaging distortion of world markets."