Policy Feb00 (updated Oct00)
Fighting disease & poverty in
to developing countries has failed in eradicating poverty, disease and
social deprivation, particularly in
sub-Saharan Africa. People in these countries are poorer today than they
were 30 or 40 years ago when their countries secured political
independence. They have acquired the flag of freedom but lost on
opportunity to work, to access basic social services and to improve their
have we failed to help the poor?
We neglected to promote
rural development based on devolution, democracy, good governance, private
enterprise, law & order, transfer of technology and self-reliance.
Much of the aid, including from the EU, has been wasted in prestige
projects in urban areas. The majority of people live in rural areas
without access to clean water, electricity, transportation, education and
health facilities. They have no stake in their village economy –
no land, no home, no access to public services, no legal aid and no
democratic voice in local government. Therefore, they do not feel obliged
to fight corruption and uphold democracy. Such conditions breed discontent
and precipitate internal conflict leading to social unrest and civil war.
No wonder such people are easily recruited by gang and rebel leaders to
fight, exploit, loot and rape. Corrupt governments of poor countries waste
obscene sums of money on weapons of war whilst their people starve to
death. Sadly, some of our governments supply the weapons and facilitate
illegal trade to finance such purchases. We see the tragic consequences
– genocide, burnt villages, starvation and misery in refugee camps all
can the EU really help to fight poverty and disease so that these people
can be self-reliant, defend their freedom and regain their self-esteem?
Democracy and civil society
can only take root in rural areas, villages and towns – it cannot
trickle from a Presidential Palace! The EU must:-
Encourage the transfer of
technology to promote small and medium sized enterprises in rural areas to
exploit natural resources to produce, harvest, store, process, pack and
market products both in the domestic and export markets.
Finance development of
infrastructure to ensure road, rail and air access to allow free movement
of goods and services from rural to urban areas.
vocational/technical training and health facilities using radio, TV,
Information Technology and mobile units (schools, libraries, medical
analytical laboratories, mother & child clinics, immunization
Finance legal aid centres
in rural areas (e.g. in Haiti) to enable citizens to secure title deeds
for their land, resolve civil disputes and challenge corrupt practices of
countries to apply favourable fiscal measures to promote investment and
residency in rural areas to help rural development and prevent young
people migrating to the cities.
Establish a league table
for efficient use of development aid for all developing countries so that
each beneficiary country can be rated on its ability to utilise financial
and technical assistance in accordance with the EU blueprint for aid.
Plan of Action for the EU Development Assistance:-
Africa into 5 geographic Regions:-
Horn of Africa (Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia & Sudan)
East Africa & the Lake
Region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi)
Central Africa (Congo,
Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles
West Africa (Anglophone
South Africa (South Africa,
Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana)
Establish Regional Councils for each Region:-
There should be 2
Parliamentarians from each developing country in the Regional Council.
There should be a matching number of EU Parliamentarians. The EU
Parliamentarians would be invited to express preference for specialisation
in a country within the Region. The Chairmanship and Rapporteurship should
alternate each calendar year between the ACP and the EU.
These Regional Councils
would meet once a year in a country of the Region chosen by the ACP
countries in the Region with change of venue each year. The Council would
observe, analyse and assess in detail development projects financed by the
EU. Its Report will be published and circulated to the ACP:EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly, the European Commission and the appropriate
European Parliament Committees.
These Councils would enable
MEPs to offer expertise directly to developing countries. They will have
an opportunity to exchange views with ACP Parliamentarians and Government
Ministers as well as the EU Delegations in respective countries of the
Region. MEPs will also be able to assess directly the implementation of EU
projects in the beneficiary countries.
Most of these
recommendations have been incorporated in the COTONU AGREEMENT between the
EU and the ACP countries. This is a significant Conservative contribution
to reforming the development assistance policy of the EU.