The Rt Hon the Lord Boateng of Akyem and Wembley PC DL – Written evidence
I am submitting this short memorandum by way of a response to the request for written evidence from me in the light of the Committee having to cancel the session for oral evidence at which I was due to appear, as a result of the impact on the House’s sitting arrangements of the Corona Virus.
I have been assisted by the note of the likely areas of interest and questions arising therefrom helpfully supplied by the Committee. I have however focused my responses to take account of the impact of the Corona Virus Pandemic on the economic prospects of the continent and its implications for development and political stability.
What is your assessment of the way the U.K.s approach to Sub-Saharan Africa has developed over the last two decades?
The U.K.’s policy and the resources applied to the development of Sub Saharan Africa have benefited from the bipartisan commitment to maintaining our contribution to ODA at .7% of GDP and the high levels of technical expertise commitment and knowledge of the U.K.’s DFID. This and the unparalleled generosity of the British people through a voluntary NGO network and personal linkages resulting from a shared history over centuries of interaction through Empire and Commonwealth have insured a continuing level of attention and flow of assistance and remittances to that continent.
The Report of the Africa Commission published in 2004 which although initiated by the Blair Government had a majority of its membership drawn from Africa including academia, business, civil society and government has provided a sound policy and evidence base and insured a level of buy in to the U.K.’s development effort from Africa itself. This is welcome as it marked a significant recognition not least of the importance of science, higher education, inter African trade facilitation, agriculture, job creation and infrastructure for the sustainable development of the continent. These reflect African priorities which have not always been shared by international donors including the U.K. I welcome the increased recognition over the past decade of the role of the private sector in generating sustainable growth and of the importance of agriculture to food security and nutrition on the continent and latterly of job creation through Agri-business.
The U.K.’s approach has however been adversely impacted upon by a tendency to see Africa all too often as a destination for philanthropic endeavour rather than as an area of strategic geopolitical significance and trading opportunity. This is only now being belatedly addressed and in the interim a huge opportunity has been missed by successive governments including the one of which I was a part and during whose period in office I served as High Commissioner. Opportunities have been missed also by large sections of the U.K. private sector who have been complacent, risk adverse and seemingly lacking in the entrepreneurial ambition of their global rivals. We have lost out to our strategic competitors particularly the People’s Republic of China.
HMG has consistently underfunded and paid too little regard to our military diplomatic effort in underpinning peace keeping and stability in the African region. The MOD and the FCO have faced budget cuts, the British Council is no longer funded as the effective instrument of public diplomacy it might be and the BBC Overseas Service though widely respected operates under severe budgetary restraints. Closer coordination across government departments and the sharing in resources which could legitimately be attributable to ODA in this and other areas of strategic importance has not happened.
Our private sector has too readily put Africa in the “too risky box” and either not engaged or indeed in the case of Barclays withdrawn from what was once a commanding position. British Airways has failed to respond competitively to its Middle Eastern rivals who with Turkey have been expanding their reach on the continent whilst BA has underinvested in some of its most profitable routes and abandoned others. There are some notable exceptions to this Unilever, Diageo and the London Stock Exchange have taken some excellent initiatives and strengthened their engagement with Africa to mutual benefit.
I anticipate in the global downturn the disruption of supply chains and the adverse capital flows that are likely to result from the Corona Virus Pandemic that without an activist position from HMG across departments the U.K. is likely to lose still further ground to our Middle and Far Eastern competitors in Africa. This will adversely impact on the benefits to Africa’s development that would otherwise flow from robust global competition and diverse sources of foreign direct investment.
The past 20 years has seen the growth of a project and/or programmatic led approach to development in Africa at the expense of direct budgetary support to individual African countries or regional entities.This is not to diminish the significance and value of many of these initiatives or the challenges of monitoring direct budgetary support but as a result many otherwise successful initiatives have simply not realised their potential benefits at scale. A body of evidence now exists as to what works but scaling up these initiatives simply hasn’t happened. This is because African governments lack the necessary resources, the administrative infrastructure and capacity to provide the enabling environment necessary for sustainable implementation This seriously weakens the capacity of those governments to respond to climate change or a range of other security threats including significantly at this time global pandemics.
Health is in fact a classic example of the weaknesses inherent in our existing approach. There have been highly successful interventions in the field of AIDS, Malaria, Polio and lifesaving vaccines for children, but overall health care systems are weak. African governments are not meeting their own Africa Union targets for spending on health. Hospitals, Health Clinics, Medical Schools, Research Institutes, Laboratories and Health Ministries of Health are grossly underfunded. One lower middle-income African country with which I am well acquainted even though it has managed to fund a medical insurance system does not include in that system childhood cancers. The resulting suffering is indescribable despite dedicated and highly qualified staff who work on the wards. In the main teaching hospital, the child cancer ward has been reduced through lack of funding for repair and maintenance to one source of clean water for the whole ward. This same country however has been able to deliver a double roll out of vaccines for childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea in partnership with Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation which the U.K. has consistently and rightly supported with notable generosity This is a credit to both GAVI, health practitioners, civil society leadership and the Ministry in the country concerned. When I visited the launch site to publicise the achievement the village elders took me to one side, thanked the donors praised their own government but said “This is all very good but what about diabetes hyper tension and all the rest is there nothing that can be done for the whole village?” There is of course but it does require investment in a whole systems approach that is currently lacking. This will involve direct budgetary support by the donors and more effective generation and collection of local resources. This whole systems approach will be necessary to build resilience to pandemics. Its absence at this time as evidenced by the paucity of testing facilities ventilators etc will potentially lead to a disproportionately high incidence of mortality when the full impact of the current corona virus pandemic is felt.
I could give similar examples in agriculture and nutrition. Agricultural extension services and research institutes were dismantled at the insistence of the World Bank and the IMF during the period of structural adjustment. This is now widely recognised to have been a mistake. African governments do not now however as a result have the human resources or infrastructure capacity in place to provide the necessary support to farmers to permit them to take advantage of improved seeds and to make the links to supply chains that permit them to engage with the private sector, agribusiness and global markets. All of which have benefited from a number of ODA funded programmes and projects from a range of global donors including significantly DFID who are in many instances market leaders in this respect. Taking the product of this investment in time, effort and taxpayers’ money to scale however requires budget lines by African governments that are all too often inadequate or non-existent.
I would urge therefore that in responding to the Pandemic HMG revisits the case for increased targeted direct budgetary support to African governments in relation to health agriculture and water and sanitation. This will better assist in addressing the fragilities that present a block to development and a global public health risk. Budget support with strong oversight through diplomatic engagement will also generate enhanced capacity and effectiveness in governance, promote institutional strengthening, offer increased job generation and improved livelihoods on the continent.
How does the U.K.’s strategic approach compare to those of its like-minded partners in Europe and North America?
What is Your Assessment of the Governments new strategic approach to Africa and in particular the outcomes of the recent U.K.-Africa Investment Summit?
I would maintain that the U.K. enjoys a competitive advantage in Africa over our European and North American development partners because we are seen and with cause to be both more generous in terms of our commitments, have closer and deeper historical ties and cultural understanding and to be less self-interested or mercantilist than many, particularly in comparison to the USA and France. Our developmental practitioners not just within DFID but in our Universities, Research Institutes and NGOs are widely respected. This should not however be a cause for complacency. We do not necessarily play sufficiently to our strengths. We often fail to work across government departments and with the private and not for profit sectors to maximise our impact in Africa. The linkages for instance between DFID the FCO and the Department for International Trade with the MoD the DoH themselves let alone with the Universities, and the private sector are too often weak, underdeveloped and clouded sometimes by mutual mistrust and misunderstanding. This is a cause of deep frustration to many in those institutions who simply cannot understand why there is not a greater pooling of the U.K.’s ODA funding and effort between government departments, U.K. institutions and entities. Africa would benefit if there were, as would the U.K. taxpayer. This was a source of frustration to me as Chief Secretary and as High Commissioner and it remains so in my various roles today.
I take the view that HMT and the Cabinet Office in No 10 will need therefore to drive any new strategic approach to Africa otherwise the old departmental battles, rivalries and a profound unwillingness to pool resources will limit HMGs capacity to deliver meaningful changes in policy and the impact of any new strategy. The Africa Commission itself did not come from either DFID or the FCO who initially were quite resistant to it. The initiative stemmed from a shared and perhaps all too rare consensus between No 11 and No 10 who whatever the personal tensions involved between the Prime Minister and his Chancellor shared a genuine commitment to make a difference in Africa. The upcoming comprehensive spending review and the Strategic Defence Review will provide an opportunity to demonstrate political commitment at that level.
Business as usual is not an option in terms of addressing the challenges either of the Corona Virus Pandemic or of Brexit, both provide an opportunity to reshape and strengthen our engagement with Africa.
The governments “new strategic approach” to Africa as it is described seems to exist primarily at the moment in a series of speeches by both the previous and current PM and Ministers which have been broadly welcomed on the continent. There is little by way of specifics and no overarching document let alone set of targets by which we may measure success. The focus on the importance of infrastructure, security in its broadest sense, climate change, Agricultural productivity ,support for enhanced private sector engagement and the All Africa Free Trade Initiative to stimulate economic growth all represent welcome recognition and validation of where African governments and civil society are in terms of their own thinking. The one concrete initiative namely the U.K. Africa Investment Summit was widely and in my view rightly welcomed and perceived as successful in that it was well attended and a clear marker of the U.K.’s intentions going forward. Concrete measures however are now awaited as is a clearer indication of the extent to which the U.K. private sector will respond to governments exhortations and African governments messaging that Africa like the U.K. is open to business. When African leaders say that they would welcome U.K. business they mean it but they will also say that to date and particularly in the field of infrastructure they have been singularly disappointed by the uptake post Theresa May’s Africa tour when she indicated the shift in approach in this area.
The negative impact of the global downturn on Africa, its supply lines, markets, oil and extractive industries revenues have been well documented by the IMF and the World Bank as has the need for a co-ordinated global response to the looming debt crisis on the continent. It is to be hoped that Britain will seize the opportunity to take a lead in this in the vacuum left by the US which after decades of engagement under successive republican and democratic presidents now lacks moral authority on the continent. This is in the wake of President Trumps widely publicised views on the continent and the US withdrawal from support of the WHO led by an African which clearly has to be part of the global coordination to respond as the Pandemic impacts on the continent. The danger to public health globally of the spread of the virus in informal settlements and refugee camps cannot be overstated. There remains however within the State Department and Congress on both sides of the aisle considerable expertise and a degree of commitment which makes continuing co-operation with the US necessary and desirable as it will be with the EU. The EU has written strategic partnership agreements with the AU and a number of African states with agreed instruments for monitoring them and evaluating outcomes. Britain would be well advised to do likewise and is better placed to be seen as a friend to pro poor development and a more equitable relationship, than that which exists between Africa, the EU and it’s member states who tend to be protectionist in relation to agriculture and both the manufacturing and service sectors at the expense of Africa’s producers.
Should the U.K. focus its attention on countries with which it has stronger existing and historic relations or seek to expand its engagement across Sub Saharan Africa?
The U.K. should not allow its vision of its strategic and development interests in Sub-Saharan Africa to focused solely through a backward-looking glass of its previous imperial historic relationships. A shared language and historical connection may in some instances provide a competitive advantage and the ease of familiarity and understanding but the U.K.’s mutual interests going forward need to be shaped by wider considerations. Climate change means that we cannot ignore the significance of biodiversity in the DRC and the Congo Basin. The impact of events in the largely French speaking Sahel not least on Nigeria and Ghana two major strategic partners mean that the U.K. is disadvantaged by a less than optimal diplomatic presence in Mali or Burkina Faso. These two French speaking countries have been destabilised by events in Libya and now pose a much wider security threat beyond their immediate region with implications for security on our own streets. HMGs humanitarian and diplomatic response to the appalling human rights abuses in the Cameroon where we do have a historic and commonwealth connection have been hampered by an undue deference to the French interest. Our wider commercial trading interest in Africa in the aftermath of Brexit mean that we should be seeking to support U.K. business to challenge French commercial hegemony in West Africa. Senegal and the Ivory Coast in particular present real opportunity. There was a degree of disappointment in a country like Benin that they were not invited to the Summit. The likely impact of the Corona Virus Pandemic on Africa’s growth rate and capacity to absorb its growing youthful population into the labour market will have implications for political stability and the security situation across the continent. Existing economic and political pressures have contributed to migration and these could potentially get worse with the impact of the pandemic, countering this requires increased cross border co-operation and regional developmental solutions. This makes it important to be able to identify new partners as our strategic interests dictate without being limited to previous historical patterns of engagement.
The U.K. going forward should in my view broaden and deepen its diplomatic trade and development outreach in Africa. HMG has made some welcome progress in this regard and should continue to do so. The Africa Union in Addis Ababa and the Pan African Parliament in Pretoria both represent opportunity for deeper capacity building of two significant African institutions and our network of posts would benefit from enhanced investment with both trade and development in country representation and political reporting and influencing.
How could the U.K. improve its trade relationship in Sub-Saharan Africa?
What role should the private sector play in Sub Saharan Africa’s efforts to reduce poverty? What more can the U.K. government do to support private sector development in the region?
The increase in population growth in Africa and a fast growing middle class expected to account for over 40% of the population by 2030 with growing levels of consumer spending power and an appetite for U.K. goods and services ought to present real opportunities for the U.K. in its trading relationship with Sub Saharan Africa. This should be particularly the case where the U.K. has a strong competitive advantage including but not limited to financial services ,legal, insurance and including those service areas where the growing African middle class have an appetite for spending surplus income in the education and health sectors and on the product of domestic processing of higher quality foods and beverages using local supply chains. Some forward looking companies with a long history of engagement on the continent like Unilever and Diageo have understood the extent of the opportunity and are building on this history but currently U.K. FDI tends to be focussed on the extractive industries across the continent and where there is more diverse investment in other sectors on South Africa which accounts for 30% of FDI geographically. With regards to Africa as a whole 51% is concentrated in extractives and 35% in financial services. There are significant opportunities through a more diversified approach. Growth is likely to slow down in Sub Saharan Africa this year as a result of the virus and collapse in global demand, supply chains and weaker oil and commodity prices. Given the wider context of even lower economic growth and opportunity elsewhere investment in African countries will still hold out the prospect of bolstering corporate growth for U.K. companies where other risks and constraints on trade can be managed. This would suggest that the U.K.’s strategic interest lies in improving trade facilitation and contributing to enabling commercial environments within Africa through ODA and building upon and taking to scale the excellent work that DFID has been pioneering in this area for more than a decade now.
Brexit provides an opportunity to reboot the trade relationship between the U.K. and Africa. The Economic Partnership Agreements entered into between the EU and a number of African states have been contentious, unequal and far from universally welcomed on the continent.
The U.K. is now in a position to revisit these relationships in a way that facilitates pro poor growth on the continent and access to global markets for African producers. This will require close relationships across government departments in the U.K. and a strengthening not only of our own negotiating capacity but also that of our African partners. The coming into force of the Africa Unions Continental Free Trade Agreement will provide a context for these negotiations that ought to create a more enabling and business friendly environment within which the private sector may be able to generate growth and importantly jobs.
Africa has less than 3% of global trade and its fractured internal market means that trade within Africa is lower than any other region on earth with intra African trade just 18% of its overall exports. The AfCTA is Africa’s best hope of addressing this if trade and the private sector are to realise the contribution, they can make to lifting Africans out of poverty. Real progress has been made in terms of its ratification, but the implementation framework remains a work in progress and considerable investment is required to deliver connectivity and an enabling infrastructure
The U.K. is uniquely positioned I would suggest to contribute to this through its ODA offer to the continent and by the U.K. private sector positioning itself to take advantage of the market opportunity that will come into being in both financial and other services and in the engineering and construction sectors.
Aid for Trade (Aft) is a very effective form of ODA and needs to be central to the U’K’s development partnership with Africa going forward This should help build capacities to trade and address adjustment costs when implementing trade agreements. The U K development sector has built up considerable experience over the years in support for economic infrastructure, regulatory reform, protection of indigenous intellectual property rights , effective internal resource mobilisation through taxation. Aft has proven effectiveness in improving export performance and the reduction of import costs. The ODI has estimated that doubling Aft can increase merchandise exports by an average 3.5% Africa is seeking to diversify and increase its manufacturing capacity and exports. This will be particularly important in kickstarting the African and global economy in the aftermath of the shocks inflicted by the Corona virus pandemic. Properly targeted Aid for Trade is critical. It will work best by focussing on and addressing the most binding constraints on trade, supporting good evidence-based policy in Africa. The development as it does so of local African institutional capacity in the recipient country is key alongside the coordination of a range of players in both the public civil society and private sector space. Budgetary support and engagement with key ministries and linkages with the private sector are central to this. This requires sustained efforts on all sides without it the Africa U.K. relationship will continue to be characterised by aid dependency and empty rhetoric. The private sector and enabling governments prioritising investment in public goods are the key to the delivery of the SDGs on the continent.
I want to focus on SDGs 6 and 11 Clean Water and Sanitation and Sustainable Communities and Cities in illustrating the importance of infrastructure and private sector engagement in poverty reduction. Neither goal is likely to be met at the present rate of progress. Addressing this challenge and building on the firm evidence base and learning already accumulated not least by Dfid funded institutions will be a vital part of the development response to the global public health emergency at this time.
Across the world 900 million people live in low income communities with little or no access to clean water or safe sanitation. The UN predicts that by 2050 another 2.5 billion people will be living in cities with almost 90% living in Africa where in urban areas currently more than 1in 10 lack access to safe water and more than 1in 3 lack access to safe sanitation.
Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor funded by Dfid amongst others whose work I have come to know well focuses at a city level. The goal is building institutional capacity and partnerships across the private and public sectors intervening with a focus on the poorest and the role and needs of women as service users and deliverers market-based action and robust regulatory reform. Since its inception in 2004 20 million low income residents have benefited from improved water sanitation and hygiene as result of WSUPs work. It has worked in Kenya with the regulator to introduce a KPI which requires utilities to demonstrate how they are serving the poorest. In the first two years since its inception over half Kenya’s utilities now report pro poor service activity .WSUP has brought the skills of large corporates to tackle issues such as behaviour change (working with Unilever ) and improved infrastructure ( working with Borealis and Borouge).WSUP has helped over 100 small businesses deliver improved services and established an exemplary franchise model for sanitation waste collection services across Bangladesh known as SWEEP. In Ghana it has supported with technical expertise and concessionary finance private sector interventions to expand the take up of household toilets and worked with municipal authorities to encourage private landlords to invest in toilets for tenants of housing compounds.
Addressing these issues requires not only adequate public funding and unlocking private sector investment but a renewed policy focus on the partnerships that are necessary for implementation, not least with the recipient country, governments and their regulatory and other agencies. The global crisis of the Corona Virus Pandemic needs to be met not simply with a humanitarian response but a scaling up of approaches to development in these critical areas of water sanitation and hygiene that have been proved to be impactful. The Climate Change Summit ought also to be a stimulus to action in this area as due to climate change and population growth by 2050 without the necessary scaling up of global responses, water availability could be two thirds of what it was in 2015. DFID obviously as a significant role to play going forward This also presents an opportunity for U.K. civil engineering and other services. They have to date been slow to come forward. Without active government support including the availability of concessionary finance and insurance guarantee systems I remain doubtful as to whether they will evidence any greater appetite going forward. The U.K. s development security and commercial interest however lies clearly in contributing to the successful urbanisation of Africa and the U.K.’s Africa strategy should reflect that.
How influential an actor is South Africa in African regional politics and how important a partner is it for the U.K.’s interests in Sub-Saharan Africa?
South Africa is best seen in my view as part of a number of key influencers on the continent which also comprises of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and arguably Ethiopia in terms of their contribution to regional politics reflecting their historic engagement with Pan African institutions, their willingness and capacity to take on peace keeping responsibilities and the size of their economies.
Nigeria and South Africa stand out in view of the last of these criteria representing the two largest economies in Sub Saharan Africa. South Africa is the single biggest source of U.K. FDI into that country and there are significant joint listings on the London and Johannesburg stock exchange. The Pan African Parliament meets in Pretoria. The Pan-African Parliament is an institution which in my view merits more attention than it sometimes receives and will grow in significance as the Continental Free Trade area whose Head Quarters will be in Ghana establishes itself. South Africa is the dominant political and economic power within SADEC the highly influential regional economic entity. South Africa has in recent years under the Presidency of Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa been increasingly preoccupied with its domestic challenges and has seemed to some, less willing to engage as a problem solver and thought leader in the wider African context than under President Mbeki. This is regrettable as it has much to offer. Its prestige has also taken a blow as a result of the Xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans that have occurred in a number of its major cities. I remain however an optimist in terms of South Africa’s ability to overcome its widely documented challenges and to fulfil its promise as the Rainbow nation. I think however it is important to recognise the reality of what is a complex relationship between the U.K. and South Africa. The relationship between South Africa and the peoples of the U.K. is a warm and friendly one .South Africans are appreciative of the role of civil society, the churches, the trade union movement progressive business leaders and parliamentarians on all sides in both Houses in the combatting apartheid during the Apartheid era .The relationship between the two governments is historically much more nuanced and there have been some noted policy disagreements not least on the Iraq War, Zimbabwe over many years and more recently Libya. South Africa would argue and with some justification that they have more often than not been proved right. I well recall being admonished by Nelson Mandela albeit with a twinkle in his eye but serious intent to “Tell our friend Tony that you are getting it wrong as a government with your misplaced policy on Iraq”
South Africa played a critical role in the creation of South Sudan and on ending the conflict in Burundi. South Africa is a member of the G20 and expects to be treated with respect and as equals and not to be taken for granted. The abrupt termination of our bilateral development programme which had some potential as a spring board to wider partnerships in the region did not go down well. Is there potential for us to do more together? I believe so but not with rose tinted glasses or to the exclusion of our other strategic partners on the continent but between our respective governments on the basis of mutual identification of shared interests where they exist and more widely between our respective civil society institutions not least the Universities, Research Institutes and the City of London.
What value can engagement with diaspora communities bring to the U.K.’s diplomatic economic and trade relationship with the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa? Should they be better engaged with the policy making process and how?
The U.K. is fortunate as is Africa to have had over many centuries a historical connection which although it presents a mixed picture of both good and ill has found not least within the Commonwealth in recent times often a shared understanding and genuine warmth of feeling. The U.K. also shares with Africa as a result of that historical connection a descendent diaspora population. I wish that U.K. Board rooms were as reflective of this as our Parliament has become. Being present around the tables where decisions are taken is surely the best way of influencing policy.
The US undoubtedly benefits in managing its global commercial relationships from the degree of ethnic diversity on the Boards of its top companies and driving the growth of their small and medium sized businesses These wider familial geographical links with Africa and the Indian Sub-Continent inform their understanding and risk appetite for global markets.
The U.K. business sector has way to go in this area and suffers from a lack of ethnic diversity and a degree of myopia when it comes to Africa that has damaged the advancement of our national interests This is changing in the legal and financial service sector and in the City of London in particular where there are a number of highly influential diaspora Brits of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin in particular but also from the significant East African Asian community. The value these voices add is increasingly evident.
The civil service fast stream is still not sufficiently diverse given the numbers of highly qualified graduates from the diaspora coming through the education system and our university teaching staff at Professorial level still lag behind our US global competitors. This is telling in the global market for educational services where the US is increasingly hoovering up some of Africa’s best and brightest for post graduate studies with the resulting benefits flowing to the US when they return
The Race Equality Audit initiated by Theresa May is in my view a hugely important tool in measuring progress in this area We need to make the most of the competitive advantage that a multi-racial Britain potentially affords this country .To do so however requires a degree of focus and intentionality without which good intentions simply pave the way to know where. One obvious advantage for Africa is diaspora remittances which account for a sum in excess of the U.K.’s ODA to the continent. These arise from emotional and familial links that have implications also for both philanthropic giving and investment flows These are yet in my view to be fully realised. They would benefit from further study both by HMT and DFID to insure that perceived regulatory obstacles don’t inhibit these flows and that we explore the potential for development bonds and other forms of innovative financing.
There is wisdom to be gained from wider and sustained contact and consultation with the diaspora communities themselves. A number of Diaspora communities have trade and small business associations which meet together to promote economic activity in their countries of origin. There is at least one web-based initiative that promotes volunteering and employment opportunities in Africa to diaspora communities. There is a highly effective diaspora led initiative between the Croydon Chamber of Commerce and Durban that has generated employment in both places. Targeted public consultation exercises of the sort of which DFID in particular has some experience might prove useful in this respect around specific initiatives by HMG.
I hope the above reflections on the questions raised with me are of use to the Committee in its important and welcome work. I stand ready to appear for further questions before the Committee should it decide to reopen its oral hearings virtually in the light of what we now know to the likely impact of the Corona Virus Pandemic on the global economy and its implications for Development and Security in Africa. I draw to the attention of the committee my current philanthropic and business interests in Africa as detailed in the Registry of Members Interests.
Received 20 April 2020