Bishop of Durham asks about development, environment and prosperity in Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda

On 30th December the Bishop of Durham received written answers to questions about Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda and the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index 2020:

 The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Legatum Institute The Legatum Prosperity Index 2020, published on 16 November; and in particular that report’s findings that Burundi is (1) 157th out of 167 countries ranked in terms of overall prosperity, and (2) among the top 10 worst countries in the world in the categories of (a) economic quality, (b) living conditions, and (c) health. [HL11204]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK remains concerned by the development indicators for Burundi and the findings of this report. The UK has been providing support to Burundi to tackle health crises including helping to tackle acute malnutrition, responding to a malaria outbreak and supporting on Ebola and COVID-19 response.


The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by the Legatum Institute The Legatum Prosperity Index 2020, published on 16 November, that Lesotho is among the top 10 worst countries in the world in the natural environment category. [HL11205]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We are concerned by the ongoing impact of climate variability upon the prosperity of Lesotho, as well as the Legatum Prosperity Index’s findings for natural environment ranking Lesotho as 166 out of 167 countries. Climate and Natural Resources have been a pillar of the UK Government’s strategic approach to Africa since 2018, with an increased focus on these issues across the continent. We recognise how important natural resources are for Lesotho’s long-term prosperity, and that is why climate change and environmental issues are key priorities for the recently re-opened British High Commission in Maseru.

The UK is supporting Lesotho to improve the management of their shared water resources, helping people to cope with the impacts of existing climate variability through the FCDO’s regional Transboundary Water Management Programme. This is supporting efforts to respond to the urgent issue of wetland degradation across Southern Africa, and the declining capacity at the source of the Orange-Senqu river to retain, regulate and sustain base water flows, which are crucial for local livelihoods and for water supply within Lesotho and South Africa. The UK also recently announced a £7 million Southern Africa COVID-19 Humanitarian and Remittance Relief Fund, which will support countries across the region hit by the combined effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by the Legatum Institute The Legatum Prosperity Index 2020, published on 16 November, that Rwanda is among the top 10 most improved countries in the world in the categories of (1) governance, (2) investment environment, and (3) market access and infrastructure. [HL11206]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Good governance, a sound investment environment and strong market access and infrastructure are all important for economic growth. As indicated by the findings of the report, Rwanda has made good progress in many of these areas over the past ten years. UK support has helped strengthen the Rwanda Revenue Authority to dramatically improve tax collection, create a national land title system to support investment, support Government to deliver an electronic system reducing the time and cost of clearing goods across borders, and increase the involvement of citizens in some areas of policymaking. These investments also create opportunities for UK trade and support Rwanda to exit from aid. We continue to regularly raise with the Government of Rwanda the need to match its impressive developmental progress with increased political and civic rights for citizens.