Bush’s Record on Foreign Aid to Africa Not ‘Widely Noticed’ in U.S., Opinion Piece Says
Although the "foreign affairs legacy of President Bush so far speaks most loudly of terrorism, Afghanistan and the quagmire in Iraq," statistics released recently by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development indicate the Bush -- "partly under pressure from his Christian supporters" and celebrities -- has "dramatically increased U.S. aid to Africa," columnist David Usborne writes in an opinion piece in London's Independent (Usborne, Independent, 1/2). The OECD statistics indicate that under the Bush administration, U.S. humanitarian and development aid to Africa has increased from $1.4 billion annually in 2001 to $4 billion annually. In addition, Bush has demonstrated a growing commitment to combating HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa. Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda are among the world's top 10 recipients of aid from the U.S, and U.S. trade with Africa has doubled since 2001. In addition, Bush recently pledged to increase humanitarian and development aid to the continent to almost $9 billion by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/2). Bush's record on aid to Africa "has not been widely noticed in the U.S., particularly by Bush critics who prefer to play up his image on the world stage as narrowly focused on Iraq and fighting terror," Usborne writes. He adds that although there isn't "any obvious domestic political dividend for him in reinforcing his African credentials," some "African specialists complain that because of" conditions attached to aid, "U.S. assistance is still more about self-interest than altruism." In addition, the "early anxiety" that PEPFAR was "overly influenced" by Bush's Christian supporters is "fading" as PEPFAR has "grown in importance," Usborne writes (Independent, 1/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.