Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
July 28, 2006
Specialist in International Relations
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
U.S. aid to Africa reached a peak in 1985, when global competition with the
Soviet Union was at a high point. As the Cold War eased, security assistance levels
for Africa began to drop. In 1995, at the outset of the 104th Congress, substantial
reductions in aid to Africa had been anticipated, as many questioned the importance
of Africa to U.S. national security interests in the post-Cold War era. As the debate
went forward, however, congressional reports and bills emphasized U.S.
humanitarian, economic, and other interests in Africa. Aid levels did fall, but began
a gradual recovery in FY1997. Assistance through the Child Survival and
Development Assistance (DA) accounts has now leveled off, but aid to Africa is
reaching new highs due to aid through the Global AIDS Initiative.
U.S. assistance reaches Africa through a variety of channels, including USAID-
administered DA and Child Survival programs, food aid programs, and refugee
assistance. The Peace Corps is expanding in Africa and plans to have about 2,700
volunteers there by the end of FY2005. The U.S. African Development Foundation
makes small grants to cooperatives, youth groups, and self-help organizations. U.S.
security assistance, though still far below levels seen in the 1980s, has increased in
recent years, primarily because of U.S. support for African peacekeeping initiatives.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is the principal
multilateral channel for U.S. aid, but the United States also contributes to the African
Development Bank and Fund and to United Nations activities in Africa.
U.S. officials continue to stress a strong commitment to assisting Africa. In a
June 26, 2003 speech, President Bush described a “partnership” with Africa
including support for security and development. In August 2002, the Administration
announced initiatives on access to potable water, clean energy, reducing hunger, and
development and conservation in the Congo River basin. The initiatives are to make
extensive use of public-private partnerships. As part of its counterterrorism efforts,
the Administration has also launched initiatives to strengthen security forces in the
Sahel region and in East Africa.
The overall level of funding for aid to Africa remains a continuing subject of
debate. Other issues include the eligibility of African countries for aid through the
Millennium Challenge Account and U.S. support for the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an African initiative linking increased aid with
policy reform. It will be updated as the situation warrants.
Most Recent Developments..........................................1
U.S. Aid to Africa: An Overview.....................................1
DFA and Child Survival assistance............................4
Economic and Security Assistance................................4
Security Assistance and Economic Support Fund.................6
African Development Foundation.................................7
Refugee and Disaster Assistance..................................8
Total U.S. Assistance for Sub-Saharan Africa........................8
FY2006 Request and Congressional Action.....................9
Comparison with Other Donors..................................11
Recent Trends in U.S. Aid......................................12
Sustainable Development Initiatives..........................14
Millennium Challenge Account..................................14
NEPAD and the G8...........................................15
109th Congress Legislation..........................................16
Appendix: Selected Africa Assistance Acronyms.......................18
List of Figures
Figure 1. U.S. Economic Aid to Africa.................................2
Figure 2. U.S. Non-Food Economic Aid to Africa........................3
List of Tables
Table 1. Leading U.S. Assistance Recipients in Africa....................5
Table 2. Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities............6
Table 3. Assistance Designated for Sub-Saharan Africa..................10
Table 4. Assistance Requested and Appropriated Worldwide...............11
Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues
Most Recent Developments
In February 2006, the Bush Administration submitted a supplemental
appropriations request for Iraq, Afghanistan, funding for the Gulf Coast hurricanes,
and other foreign policy priorities. The Administration requested $514.1 million for
Sudan/Darfur. On March 16, 2006, the House approved $618.1 million (H.R. 4939):
$499.1 million for Darfur ($66.3 million for International Disaster and Famine
Assistance (IDFA), $11.7 million for refugees, $173 million for African Union
peacekeeping, $150 million for food aid, $98.1 million for CIPA-U.N.
peacekeeping), and $119 million for southern Sudan ($12.3 million for refugees, $75
million for food aid, $31.7 for CIPA-U.N. peacekeeping). On April 4, 2006, the
Senate Appropriations Committee approved $564 million for Sudan/Darfur: $125
million for southern Sudan and $439 million for Darfur. On May 4, 2006, the full
Senate approved $624 million for Sudan: $125 million for southern Sudan and
$499.1 million for Darfur. In mid-June, the House and Senate approved the
conference report which contained $618.1 million for Darfur and Southern Sudan,
and on June 15, President Bush signed H.R. 4939 (P.L. 102-234).
Moreover, the conference approved $63.8 million for Liberia for refugee support
and in Economic Support Funds. The conferees also approved $125 million in food
aid for east and central Africa and $25 million in drought relief support for west
Africa and the Horn of Africa.
U.S. Aid to Africa: An Overview
U.S. assistance finds its way to Africa through a variety of channels. Bilateral
or country-to-country aid, also known as direct assistance, is given through
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private and voluntary organizations
(PVOs), contractors, and African government ministries and agencies. Multilateral
aid, or indirect assistance, is given first to international financial institutions (IFIs)
and U.N. agencies, which in turn channel it to Africa through their own programs.
Background. Figure 1 traces U.S. economic assistance to Africa, including
food aid, in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars since World War II. U.S. bilateral
aid to the region rose sharply in the early 1960s as most African countries achieved
independence. This was also a time of intense Cold War competition with the Soviet
Union. Aid reached another peak in 1985, when famine struck wide areas of sub-
Saharan Africa. The peak may also have resulted in part from heightened Cold War
competition, reflected in President Reagan’s 1983 description of the Soviet Union
as an “evil empire.”
Toward the end of the 1980s, competition with the Soviet Union began to fade
as a U.S. priority, while efforts to reduce the U.S. budget deficit began to intensify,
contributing to an overall reduction in assistance to Africa. Moreover, policymakers
were placing increased emphasis on human rights and commitment to economic
reform programs in making their decisions on aid allocations. Consequently, aid to
some African countries that had been major Cold War aid recipients, such as Zaire
(now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Liberia, was sharply reduced.
Nonetheless, there was another spike in aid in 1992, when famine struck the Horn of
Africa and the southern part of the continent. Aid then dropped again, with the
reductions coming almost entirely in the security-oriented programs: military
assistance (not included in Figure 1) and especially the Economic Support Fund
(ESF). ESF aid is a type of economic assistance allocated by the State Department,
in consultation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with
the objective of promoting U.S. security interests. From the mid-1980s, many in
Congress and in the wider aid-oriented community had come to believe that the
security assistance programs in Africa had grown too large and that more U.S. aid
should be used to promote long-term development.
Figure 1. U.S. Economic Aid to Africa
Millions of Constant 2005 $, Fiscal Years
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005
Source: Prepared by Congressional Research Service.
In 1995, at the beginning of the 104th Congress, proposals to restructure and
reduce the U.S. foreign assistance program raised questions about the future of U.S.
aid to sub-Saharan Africa. Many questioned the strategic rationale for assisting
Africa in the post-Cold War era, and asserted that 30 years of U.S. assistance had
accomplished little — whether in terms of promoting economic growth and
democratization, or achieving other objectives. The critics generally favored
humanitarian assistance, but sought sharp cuts in other programs. As the aid debate
proceeded, however, it became apparent that cuts for Africa would be less than
initially anticipated. The view that the United States has important humanitarian,
economic, and other objectives in Africa was vigorously asserted by supporters of the
Africa aid program, and came to be reflected in report language on the major foreign
assistance bills, as well as in the bills themselves. Aid did drop back to the 1990 level
in 1996, but slow growth began again in FY1997.
A major increase in aid took place in FY2003 because of large quantities of food
aid provided to Ethiopia and southern Sudan, as well as a boost in spending through
the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund in response to the African HIV/AIDS
pandemic. Figure 2, which excludes food aid, shows another major development in
the assistance program: sharp increases resulting from spending under the Global
HIV/AIDS Initiative (GHAI), administered by the Department of State. GHAI is the
principal component of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
and began operations in FY2004. Assistance through GHAI to the 12 PEPFAR focus
countries in Africa was an estimated $264 million in FY2004 and $781 million in
FY2005, and reached $1.2 billion under the FY2006 request while the USAID
programs, taken together, leveled off. These programs are Child Survival and
Health, Development Assistance (DA), and the Economic Support Fund (ESF), as
well as Transition Initiatives (TI), a new program that was created under the FY2006
foreign assistance request to promote stabilization, reform, and post-conflict
reconstruction in fragile states. GHAI assistance includes the provision of
antiretroviral therapy, safe injections, safe blood supplies, and abstinence/faithfulness
education. Figure 1 will likely show continued sharp growth in aid to Africa in
2005 once food aid that was being provided from emergency reserves to Niger and
other countries is attributed to Africa in USAID data. (Table 3 provides detail on
these and other programs that channel aid to Africa.)
Figure 2. U.S. Non-Food Economic Aid to Africa
Millions of Current $, Fiscal Years
1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006R
Global Aids Initiative
DA, Child Survival, ESF, TI
Source: Prepared by Congressional Research Service.
DFA and Child Survival assistance. Falling ESF levels threatened the
overall scale of the sub-Saharan aid program after 1985, and this threat led to the
creation of the Development Fund for Africa (DFA), which specifically earmarked
a minimum level of the worldwide Development Assistance (DA) program for the
region. Obligations for sub-Saharan Africa projects under the DFA reached $846
million in FY1992, but dropped well below $800 million in subsequent years despite
efforts by some Members to increase the DFA appropriation to $1 billion or more.
The DFA was last earmarked by Congress in the FY1995 appropriations, when $802
million was appropriated, and DA for Africa has since been provided out of the
worldwide Development Assistance appropriation.
For FY1996, Congress began to appropriate another type of assistance: the
Child Survival and Disease Programs Fund, renamed the Child Survival and Health
Programs Fund (CSH) in FY2002, which has channeled substantial amounts of aid
to Africa. In recent years, annual USAID presentations to Congress on the budget
request for aid to Africa have varied both with respect to using the term DFA and
with respect to including CSH aid in an overall DA amount or in breaking out CSH
assistance and DA separately. This has left the terminology governing aid to Africa
somewhat confused. However, appropriations bills now treat CSH and DA as
separate programs, and that practice is followed in this report. Meanwhile, the term
“DFA” is rarely used today, although the Development Fund for Africa is mentioned
in the Foreign Affairs Authorization (S. 600) reported in the Senate (S.Rept. 109-35)th
on March 10, 2005 (see below, “109 Congress Legislation”).
Economic and Security Assistance
Table 1 ranks African countries that would receive more than $5 million under
the FY2006 request through a wide range of U.S. economic and security assistance
programs, including the Global HIV/AIDS initiative but not food aid and disaster
assistance. Madagascar and Cape Verde have agreed to $110 million compacts with
the Millennium Challenge Corporation (see below), but information on the annual
allocation of this aid is not yet available and it is not included here.
Kenya is going through a democratic transition following multi-party elections
in December 2002 and Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Djibouti, are regarded
as strategic partners in the war on terrorism. Sudan’s relatively high rank reflects U.S.
assistance directed to southern Sudan and is focused on conflict prevention, food1
security, and primary health care. Policymakers have wanted to show continuing
support for South Africa’s post-apartheid transition, which began in 1994 with the
country’s first universal suffrage elections. Moreover, South Africa has the world’s
largest population of HIV/AIDS victims, with an estimated 5 million infected. Aid
for Zimbabwe focuses on the struggle against HIV/AIDS, expanding opportunities
for participation in political decision making, and expanding economic opportunities
for the disadvantaged. No assistance is channeled through the Zimbabwe
1 Aid for Darfur is provided principally through disaster relief, refugee assistance, and
Contributions for International Peacekeeping. See CRS Report RL33574, Sudan:
Humanitarian Crisis, Peace Talks, Terrorism, and U.S. Policy, by Ted Dagne.
Table 1. Leading U.S. Assistance Recipients in Africa
Uganda* 232.6 220.4 148.6 112.8
Kenya* 334.9 212.9 159.1 101.2
Nigeria* 320.2 175.7 130.1 80.2
Zamb ia* 189.6 160.0 113.4 82.1
Ethiopia* 283.8 145.0 114.1 74.3
T anzania* 189.7 127.5 103.4 58.9
Sudan 205.8 112.4 200.9 170.7
Mozambique* 156.9 81.5 80.3 59.9
Liberia 89.9 89.8 44.1 203.0
Rwanda* 93.9 85.0 50.5 35.9
Namibia* 82.1 58.8 44.2 26.8
Botswana* 60.4 43.7 30.5 11.7
Mali 37.7 39.2 38.6 43.0
Dem. Rep. Congo39.433.538.040.4
Ghana 37.9 33.4 40.3 41.5
Malawi 32.5 32.9 33.3 34.8
Senegal 33.1 30.0 29.9 34.1
Madagascar 22.0 22.8 22.8 23.3
Ango la 29.8 20.7 21.5 23.4
Guinea 12.9 20.5 17.7 21.9
Benin 12.0 17.9 17.9 18.4
Zimb abwe 15.2 14.3 13.8 15.5
Dj ibouti 8.3 9 .3 6.3 7 .1
Eritr ea .845 6.9 10.1 8 .2
Burund i 9 .6 6.1 6 .4 6.4
Chad 5.9 5 .2 3.0 3 .1
Source: USAID. Amounts exclude food aid.
Note: All amounts include economic and security assistance, as well as assistance under the Global
* Global AIDS Initiative “focus” country. Estimated allocations included.
Food Aid. Emergency food aid to Africa fluctuates in response to the
continent’s needs, and the amount provided by the end of a fiscal year often exceeds
the initial request. The additional amount is taken from a food aid reserve fund.
Emergency food aid is provided under Title II of the P.L. 480 program (named for
P.L. 83-480, enacted in 1954), which is implemented by USAID in cooperation with
the Department of Agriculture. 2
Peace Corps. The Peace Corps had an estimated 2,700 Peace Corps
Volunteers (PCVs) serving in 26 sub-Saharan countries in 2005, up from an
estimated 1,900 in 2002, because of the Administration’s Peace Corps expansion
program.3 Under the Peace Corps Act (P.L. 87-293), volunteers are to help the
poorest people meet their basic needs, to promote a better understanding of the
American people, and to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part
Security Assistance and Economic Support Fund. The security
assistance program in Africa, which had declined with the end of the Cold War, has
expanded in recent years, primarily in response to widening conflict and political
instability in Africa. Economic Support Fund aid has been used to support economic
reform in Nigeria, a “safe skies” program to improve African air traffic safety, human
rights and democracy education, and other objectives. ESF aid is also helping
strategic partners in the war on terrorism through cooperation on border control,
freezing terrorist assets, implementation of the peace agreement in southern Sudan,
and other activities. In addition, the Defense Department conducts AIDS prevention
education programs, primarily with African militaries.
Table 2. Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities
Operation F Y 2006( R e que s t ) F Y 2005(Estimat e) F Y 2004(Actual)
War Crimes Tribunal - Rwanda (UNICTR)13.716.416.3
Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)3.747.471.0
Democratic Republic of the Congo202.3249.130.1
U.N. Operations in Ethiopia/Eritrea32.850.449.5
Burundi Operation (ONUB)89.994.141.6
U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)159.2134.3290.3
Sudan/Darfur 250.0 250.0 ——-
U.N. Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI)71.9112.782.0
Total 823.5 954.3 580.9
Source: Prepared by CRS.
(Numbers may not add due to rounding.)
2 For further information on food assistance programs, see CRS Report RL33553,
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs, by Charles E. Hanrahan.
3 (For further information, see CRS Report RS21168, The Peace Corps: Current Issues, by
Through the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) program, the United States
supported the Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), which trained small units of
African armies for possible peacekeeping duties, as well as for other regional
peacekeeping initiatives. In FY2004, ACRI was succeeded by the Africa Contingency
Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA), which focuses on training trainers and
on programs tailored to individual country needs. Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
resumed in FY1999. International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs
in Africa are aimed at promoting professionalism and respect for democracy and
human rights among foreign military officials, while enhancing capabilities for
participation in peacekeeping operations. These programs typically run well under
$1 million per country.
The United States contributes to United Nations peacekeeping operations in
Africa and elsewhere through a program entitled Contributions to International
Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA, Table 2). Funds for CIPA are appropriated in the
legislation that funds the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, rather than
in the Foreign Operations appropriation, which governs foreign assistance.
Regional Programs. Both DA and ESF funds are used to support USAID’s
Africa Regional Programs, which are designed to confront challenges that span the
borders of African countries. These include regional programs in health, conflict
prevention, democracy, education, and agriculture. The Initiative for Southern Africa
supports efforts to promote trade and investment through the Southern Africa
Enterprise Development Fund and other programs. The Trade for African
Development and Enterprise (TRADE) initiative aims at strengthening business and
promoting policy and regulatory reform throughout the sub-Saharan region. The
Africa Trade and Investment Policy (ATRIP) program, which provides technical
assistance, training, and other aid to African countries implementing free-market
economic reforms, is part of this initiative.
African Development Foundation
The African Development Foundation (ADF) has a unique mandate to make
small grants directly to African cooperatives, youth groups, and other self-help
organizations. These grants usually range from less than $20,000 to a maximum of
$250,000, although appropriations language permits a waiver of the $250,000 ceiling.
In addition, the ADF supports grassroots development research by African scholars
and promotes the dissemination of development information at the community level.
By law, the ADF is limited to 75 employees. Its seven-member Board of Directors
must include five private-sector representatives. ADF does not station U.S.
employees in overseas posts, but instead works through local-hires and periodic field
visits. For FY2006, the ADF received an appropriation of $23 million in the Foreign
Operations Appropriations Act.
Refugee and Disaster Assistance
The United States responds to African humanitarian crises in part with Title II
food aid, discussed above, and in part through its refugee and disaster assistance
programs. Most refugee assistance comes from the Migration and Refugee
Assistance (MRA) account and goes to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees and international organizations, as well as private and voluntary
organizations assisting African refugees. In addition, the Emergency Refugee and
Migration Assistance (ERMA) account, created in 1962 to deal with unexpected
refugee situations, has been drawn upon for African emergencies several times in
recent years. USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) also plays a
major role in responding to African crises. “Situation Reports” published by
USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance monitor the U.S. response to African
humanitarian crises through food aid and other emergency assistance. To find these
reports, visit [http://www.usaid.gov/] and click on “Our Work” and “Humanitarian
The United States provides aid to Africa indirectly through international
financial institutions (IFIs) and United Nations agencies. World Bank lending
through its “soft loan” affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA) is
the largest single source of development capital in Africa. IDA loans, which are
considered a form of aid since they are virtually interest-free and carry extended
repayment periods, have focused on strengthening public sector management,
transportation, agriculture, and various social problems. IDA has been particularly
active in assisting efforts by the recipient countries to carry out free-market economic
reforms. In 2004, IDA devoted about 45% of its new loan commitments to sub-
Saharan Africa, so that about $408 million of the $907 million U.S. contribution to
IDA in that year can be said to have gone indirectly to the region. The African
Development Fund (AfDF) has been another major channel for indirect U.S. aid to
Africa. The Fund, an affiliate of the Africa-based African Development Bank
(AfDB), makes loans on highly concessional terms to the poorest African countries.
The AfDB lends on roughly commercial terms to creditworthy African borrowers,
but at the same time, it holds 50% of the voting power in the AfDF.
Total U.S. Assistance for Sub-Saharan Africa
Table 3 lists most components of U.S. assistance to sub-Saharan Africa and
indicates that under the FY2006 request, assistance would rise to $3.6 billion, not
including food aid, up from $3.5 billion in FY2005. Table 3 includes an additional
$674.4 million in FY2005 aid for Africa announced by President Bush in a June 7,
2005, press conference with Britain’s Prime minister Tony Blair. This additional
food, disaster, and refugee assistance will be drawn from general funds already
appropriated by Congress, including funds in the FY2005 Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations (P.L. 109-13), signed into law on May 11, 2005. The components of
the additional aid are $90 million in International Disaster and Famine Assistance,
$94.4 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance, $240 million in P.L. 480 Title
II food aid, and $250 million in food aid from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust,
administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.
FY2006 Request and Congressional Action. The Bush Administration’s
FY2006 assistance request for sub-Saharan Africa, released on February 7, 2005,
would continue the pattern of increasing aid for the region, largely due to the
expansion of the State Department’s Global HIV/AIDS initiative. Aid through this
program would grow by more than 50%, to $1.2 billion, as compared to FY2005,
while aid under the Child Survival and Development Assistance programs would
decline. Development Assistance funds totaling $95 million for Ethiopia and Sudan
have been shifted to the new Transition Initiatives program for fragile, post-conflict
states. Liberia, where elections are scheduled for October, would receive $75 million
through the Economic Support Fund. The Administration requested $3 million for
the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) worldwide, although $5 billion in
FY2006 funding had been anticipated under the original Millennium Challenge
Account program. (See below, “Issues.”)
Table 3. Assistance Designated for Sub-Saharan Africa
Program FY2006Request FY2005Estima te FY2004Actua l FY2003Actua l FY2002Actua l
Child Survival & Health Fund325.9356.8477.3541.1424.4
Global HIV/AIDS Initiative1,206.3781.5263.8
Transition Initiatives95.0 — — — —
ESF 151.9 104.2 74.1 109.4 120.0
African Dev. Foundation18.918.818.618.716.5
Migration and Refugee Assistance256.5323.8226.4228.5187.5
African Development Bank220.127.116.11.15.1
African Development Fund135.7105.2112.1107.4100.0
Liberia/Sudan in Other385.0
Millennium Challenge Account — — — — —
Subtotal, Economic &2,693.02,317.52,091.31,564.21,361.2
International Narcotics & Crime18.104.22.168.77.5
IMET 11.0 10.8 11.2 9 .9 10.3
Foreign Military Financing24.026.320.928.033.5
Contributions to Int’l823.5954.3580.9366.7513.0
D e mi ni ng
DOD AIDS Education, Af.0.07.54.27.014.0
Subtotal, Military and Other934.51,174.1680.1516.1645.3
TO TAL 3 ,627.5 3 ,491.6 2 ,771.4 2 ,080.3 2 ,006.5
Total Including Food Aid3,856.34,505.53,959.33,246.22,469.4
Source: Prepared by Congressional Research Service.
On November 14, 2005, President Bush signed the Foreign Operations
Appropriations bill (P.L. 109-102). As in previous years, appropriations for most
Africa-specific programs are not earmarked in the bill, but the bill provides more
than requested worldwide for Child Survival and Health programs as well as
Development Assistance, suggesting that the Administration will have ample
resources for meeting its proposals for Africa through these programs. By contrast,
the Economic Support Fund and the Millennium Challenge Account receive less
than requested worldwide. The bill provides $2 million less than requested for the
African Development Bank, meets the Administration’s requests for the African
Development Fund, and provides $23 million for the African Development
Foundation, as compared to an Administration request of $18.8 million.
Table 4. Assistance Requested and Appropriated Worldwide
Child Survival & Health Fund1,251.51,585.0
Global HIV/AIDS Initiative1,970.01,995.0
ESF 3,036.4 2,634.0
African Dev. Foundation18.923.0
Migration and Refugee892.8791.0
African Development Bank5.63.6
African Development Fund135.7135.7
Millennium Challenge Account3,000.01,770.0
International Narcotics & Crime523.9477.2
Foreign Military Financing4,588.64,500.0
Contributions to Int’l1,035.51,035.5
Source: Prepared by Congressional Research Service.
Comparison with Other Donors
According to figures compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD), the United States was the largest bilateral donor of net
bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) to sub-Saharan Africa in 2003,
followed by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, the European
countries and the European Communities together provided considerably more to
Africa than the United States. ODA includes a wide-range of non-military aid
disbursements. Many countries continued to give a larger proportion of their
assistance to sub-Saharan Africa than the United States. The region received about
32% of U.S. ODA in 2002, according to the OECD, in contrast to 57% of French
aid , 37% of British aid, and 47% of German aid. Japan was the eighth ranking
donor to Africa in 2003, according to the OECD, providing about 8% of its aid to
the region. On May 24, 2005, European Union foreign and development ministers
pledged that their governments would reach the United Nations target of providing
0.7% of GDP in foreign aid in 10 years. As an interim target, the Europeans would
provide $25 billion in added annual aid by 2010. Some cautioned, however, that
these pledges could be affected by budget difficulties in some European countries.
France’s President Jacques Chirac announced on August 29, 2005, that France
would propose a tax on air travel to fund additional aid to Africa. The proposal was
made at the United Nations World Summit, which brought more than 170 heads of
state and government to U.N. headquarters in New York, September 14-16. Some
heads of state spoke favorably about the proposal, but some developing country
delegates expressed concern that the new proposal was offered to draw attention
away from the point that official development aid (ODA) was allegedly too low to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MGD).
Recent Trends in U.S. Aid
U.S. officials continue to stress a strong commitment to assisting Africa. In
a June 26, 2003, speech to a meeting of the Corporate Council on Africa, President
Bush spoke of a “partnership” with Africa, including U.S. help in establishing peace
and security, making advances in health and literacy, and developing free economies
through aid and trade. During the speech, part of the run-up to his July 7-12, 2003,
trip to Africa, the President announced $100 million in anti-terrorism assistance
over 15 months to countries in East Africa and $200 million over five years both to
train teachers in Africa and to provide textbooks through Historically Black
Colleges and Universities. Then-Secretary of State Powell, addressing the
Corporate Council on June 27, 2003, said that Africa’s “boundless potential” could
not be realized unless the continent moved against corruption.
USAID officials have testified that the United States has had a number of
successes in promoting sustainable development, democracy, and conflict
resolution. They point to Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Mali, as examples of
successful political and economic transitions, while Mozambique and South Africa
are cited as models of transition from conflict to peace as well. Skeptics concerning
USAID’s programs, noting, for example, widespread reports of corruption and
undemocratic practices in Zambia and a slow rate of economic growth in post-
apartheid South Africa, question whether economic and political gains are genuine
or will endure. With respect to conflict resolution, some note that two leading
recipients, Uganda and Ethiopia, have recently been involved in armed conflicts, as
have some lesser recipients, including Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, and Angola.
Supporters of the program respond by acknowledging that problems inevitably arise
within and among countries that face serious challenges with deep historical roots,
but insist that overall trends in Africa are positive and that long-term development
efforts cannot be interrupted every time difficulties occur.
USAID also maintains that the DFA and CSH assistance have helped African
countries achieve increases in child immunization and the use of oral rehydration
therapy, shift their health policies towards an active emphasis on AIDS prevention,
increase the prevalence of contraceptive use, and boost primary school enrollments.
In agriculture, USAID asserts that DA has helped liberalize agricultural markets,
increase smallholder production and facilitate the development of new seed
varieties. DA has also been used to assist governments undertaking
macro-economic reforms, including reductions in the size of government
bureaucracies and the privatization of government enterprises.
The Clinton Administration launched several special development initiatives
in Africa. The Greater Horn of Africa Initiative (GHAI), aims at easing the
perennial food insecurity in a region extending from Eritrea and Ethiopia to
Tanzania by promoting collaboration and consultation on food security strategies.
The Initiative for Southern Africa (ISA) reflects USAID’s recognition of the
region’s economic potential and its desire to reinforce South Africa’s democratic
transition as a model for the rest of the continent. The initiative includes a
Democracy Fund, to make grants in the region in support of democracy, and a
Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund (SAEDF), to promote indigenous
business development and ownership.
The Leland Initiative aims at connecting 20 sub-Saharan countries to the
Internet. The initiative is named for the late Representative Mickey Leland, founder
of the House Select Committee on Hunger, who died in a 1989 plane crash while on
his way to investigate conditions in an Ethiopian refugee camp. Technicians from
several U.S. government agencies are working to implement the project, which will
make Internet access available to “all sectors of the African development
community,” including NGOs, government agencies, “private developers,” and
South Africa has been a special focus for USAID for several years. After the
installation of a democratically-elected government in May 1994, President Clinton
pledged the United States to $600 million in aid to South Africa over three years.
The United States guaranteed loans for housing, electrification, and small business
development. Resources have also been used to support the growth of small,
medium, and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa; strengthen the South
African justice system; improve education; promote primary health care; and foster
majority involvement in business.
The Africa: Seeds of Hope initiative grows out of congressional action in 1998,
when the Africa: Seeds of Hope Act (P.L. 105-385) was passed. The proposal was
strongly supported by Bread for the World, which describes itself as “a nationwide
Christian citizens movement seeking justice for the world’s hungry....” The act
supports USAID’s Africa Food Security Initiative by encouraging a refocus on
agriculture and rural development. A presidential report on implementation of the
act argued that even more could be done in agriculture if more funds were available.
President Bush, speaking at the Leon Sullivan Summit in Washington on June
20, 2002, announced a new Africa Education Initiative. The President promised to
double U.S. aid for education in the region, bringing total spending to $200 million
over the next five years. The President also announced that he would visit Africa
in 2003. As noted above, Africa will also benefit from the Global AIDS Initiative,
announced by the President in his State of the Union Message on January 28, 2003,
and the Millennium Challenge Account (see below).
Counterterrorism is the focus of other recent assistance initiatives. The Pan-
Sahel Initiative (PSI) is a joint Defense and State Department program that provides
4 USAID press release, June 6, 1996.
training and equipment to the armed forces of Mauritania, Chad, Niger, and Mali.
According to Administration officials, the initiative has helped these countries
respond to the threat posed by Algeria-based Islamist guerrillas. The East African
Counter-Terrorism Initiative (EACTI) is training law-enforcement officers in Kenya
and other countries.
Sustainable Development Initiatives. On August 23, 2002, the
Department of State released information on four initiatives or “signature
partnerships,” which were formally announced at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg on August 29, 2002. These initiatives were
the Water for the Poor Initiative, the Initiative to End Hunger in Africa, the Congo
Basin Forest Partnership, and the Clean Energy Initiative. The initiatives, which
drew praise from the United Nations representative to the conference, stress “public-
private partnerships,” through which U.S. assistance funds would be used to
leverage investments in Africa by other governments, international organizations,
NGOs, and the private sector. For example, under the West Africa Water Initiative,
part of the Water for the Poor Initiative, USAID would provide $4.4 million as a
partner in a $41 million, five-year effort to supply potable water and sanitation to
rural villages in Ghana, Mali, and Niger. Other partners would include the Conrad
N. Hilton Foundation and UNICEF. Skeptics concerning the initiatives maintain
that the amounts of U.S. assistance being offered are modest and seem to come
largely from funds that have already been budgeted or promised. Some also5
complain that the funds might be used to promote private business interests. The
initiative to end hunger aims at harnessing science and technology to boost
agricultural production and at strengthening markets to assist small farmers.
In addition to the signature partnerships, USAID released documents at WSSD
reviewing U.S. actions intended to prevent famine in southern Africa and fight
infectious disease. Another document reported on a $15 million investment
guarantee by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to support
the construction of low-income housing and associated infrastructure in South
Africa. The guarantee would help a U.S. for-profit company support a bank making
construction loans to private developers and contractors. (OPIC press release,
August 29, 2002.)
Millennium Challenge Account
In a March 14, 2002 speech, President Bush outlined a proposed Millennium
Challenge Account (MCA), which would increase foreign aid worldwide by $5
billion per year over three years, starting in FY2004. The account would provide
additional aid to countries whose governments promote good governance, invest in
people through education and health care, and promote open markets. Although the
promise of increased aid won praise from many observers, some worried that most
5 New York Times, August 30, 2002.
countries in Africa will not be able to meet the Fund’s eligibility criteria. In May
2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation announced that 8 African countries
had been determined to be eligible to receive grants: Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana,
Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, and Senegal, and agreements have been
reached with Madagascar and Cape Verde for MCA programs valued at $110
million each. Nonetheless, the program has been criticized for what some see as a
slow disbursal of funds, and as noted above, overall funding for the MCA is turning
out to be less than President Bush initially proposed.6
The level of funding for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa remains a major focus
of interest. This issue is covered in CRS Report RL33584, AIDS in Africa, by
Nicolas Cook. See also CRS Report RL33485, U.S. International HIV/AIDS,
Tuberculosis, and Malaria Spending: FY2004-FY2007, by Tiaji Salaam-Blyther.
NEPAD and the G8
In 2001, African leaders approved the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD), championed by the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria,
Senegal, and others. Under the plan, African countries are to intensify efforts to
eradicate poverty, strengthen democracy, deal with corruption, and resolve conflicts
in exchange for debt forgiveness from the developed countries as well as increased
aid, trade, and investment. NEPAD includes a “peer review mechanism” intended
to assure that African governments are held accountable for their performance with
respect to governance and economic policy.
At the June 2002 G-8 summit at Kananaskis, Canada, attended by key African
leaders, donors launched an Africa Action Plan to be implemented as NEPAD
reforms move forward. Whether the G8 donors and Africa are living up to their
Kananaskis promises is controversial. Britain hosted the July 2005 G8 summit in
Scotland, and Prime Minister Tony Blair focused the meeting on Africa once again.
Sweeping proposals for 100% debt relief, sharply increased aid, and the removal of
trade barriers were discussed. For more information, see CRS Report RL32796,
Africa, the G8, and the Blair Initiative, by Raymond W. Copson.
The overall level of U.S. assistance to Africa could again emerge as an issue
in the foreign assistance debate, particularly in view of pressures from Britain and
others for a dramatic expansion of aid to Africa. Some observers express a number
of frustrations with aspects of the foreign assistance program, but these have had
little impact on the congressional aid debate to date. Some argue, for example, that
6 For further information, see CRS Report RL32427, The Millennium Challenge Account:
Implementation of a New U.S. Foreign Aid Initiative, by Larry Nowels; and U.S.
Government Accountability Office Report GAO-05-625T, Millennium Challenge
Corporation: Progress Made on Key Challenges in First Year of Operations (April 27,
reductions in operating expenses have forced staff and mission cutbacks that
complicate USAID’s ability to implement the Africa DA program. Critics of this
view maintain that USAID must deal with budget constraints that affect other parts
of the government as well. Some also maintain that the Child Survival earmark has
absorbed funds that might otherwise have been used to promote long-term
development, which in turn would promote better health among both children and
adults. Others argue, however, that the Child Survival program has channeled funds
to a critical, immediate humanitarian need, and that the American people strongly
support assistance that benefits impoverished children, funds HIV/AIDS programs,
and promotes vaccine research, among other objectives.
Meanwhile, a debate continues among scholars, analysts, and policymakers
about whether foreign aid is an effective means of spurring growth and poverty
reduction in Africa; what types of aid are most effective; and what role other
measures, such as debt reduction and the removal of trade barriers, might play.7
109th Congress Legislation
Foreign Operations Appropriations, FY2006. For amounts, see above, FY2006
Request and Congressional Action. The legislation earmarks not less than $50
million for drinking water supply projects in Africa; permits IMET for the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria only through regular notification
procedures; prohibits debt restructuring assistance for Sudan unless the Secretary of
the Treasury certifies that a democratically elected government has taken office;
prohibits FMF for Sudan; permits aid for Liberia, Sudan or Zimbabwe only through
regular notification procedures; earmarks up to $70 million for aid to Sudan, but
apart from humanitarian assistance, prohibits aid to the Sudanese government unless
the Secretary of State certifies, among other requirements, that the government is
taking significant steps to disarm government-supported militia in Darfur; earmarks
not less than $17.5 million for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, including not
less than $2.5 million for the protection of great apes; permits assistance to countries
where individuals sought by the Sierra Leone and Rwanda war crimes tribunals are
credibly alleged to be living if the Secretary of State certifies that the governments
of such countries are cooperating with the tribunal, subject to a presidential waiver;
requires the United States to oppose loans to Zimbabwe through international
financial institutions, except for humanitarian purposes, unless the Secretary of State
certifies that the rule of law has been restored. Signed by President Bush on
November 14, 2005.
H.R. 2601 (Christopher Smith)
Foreign Relations Authorization, FY2006 and FY2007. Authorizes $1 million
for the provision of four coastal patrol boats to Mozambique; authorizes $5 million
in FY2006 and $7.5 million in FY2007 for establishing obstetric fistula centers;
encourages the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to support
7 For a discussion of these issues, see CRS Report RL32489, Africa: Development Issues
and Policy Options, by Raymond W. Copson.
investments in financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa; authorizes $12 million
in each fiscal year to support the restoration of democratic legitimacy in Zimbabwe;
authorizes $4 million for a demonstration insurance project for famine relief in
Ethiopia; requires a report on expanding the Pan-Sahel Initiative to become a robust
counterterrorism program for the entire Saharan region; states sense of Congress that
the chocolate industry, NGOs, and the governments of Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire
should continue their efforts to monitor child labor in the cocoa industry; states the
sense of Congress that the United States should assist the International Criminal
Court in bringing to justice those accused of genocide, war crimes, or crimes against
humanity in Darfur. Passed the House (351-78) July 20, 2005; received in the
Senate July 22.
S. 600 (Lugar)
Foreign Affairs Authorization, FY2006 and FY2007. Authorizes $1.1 billion
in FY2006 and such sums as may be necessary in FY2007 for Development
Assistance worldwide, including the Development Fund for Africa; authorizes
$18.85 million for the African Development Foundation in FY2006 and such sums
as may be necessary for FY2007; affirms U.S. support for the Congo Basin Forest
Partnership; authorizes funds to strengthen judicial capacity in Africa and requires
a report from the President on this effort within six months of passage; authorizes
$114.4 million in FY2006 for the Global Peace Operations (GPOI) program, with
an initial emphasis on Africa; authorizes assistance to expand access to clean water;
authorizes $325 million in FY2006 for transition initiatives, including those
requested for Sudan and Ethiopia. Reported in the Senate (S.Rept. 109-35) March
Appendix: Selected Africa Assistance Acronyms
ACOTAAfrica Contingency Operations Training Assistance, successor to ACRI.
ACRIAfrica Crisis Response Initiative, which trained military units for peacekeeping.
ADFAfrican Development Foundation, U.S.-funded public corporation.
AfDBAfrican Development Bank, an Africa-based IFI.
AfDFAfrican Development Fund, affiliate of the African Development Bank.
ATRIPAfrica Trade and Investment Program, a USAID initiative.
CIPAContributions to International Peacekeeping Activities
CSHChild Survival and Health Programs Fund.
DFADevelopment Fund for Africa, part of DA, not earmarked in recent years.
ERMAEmergency Refugee and Migration Assistance, administered by State Department.
ESFEconomic Support Fund, a State Department program for promoting U.S. interests.
FMFForeign Military Financing, funds equipment purchases.
GHAIState Department’s Global AIDS Initiative, part of PEPFAR.
IBRDInternational Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank.
IDAInternational Development Association, concessional loan affiliate of IBRD.
IFIsInternational financial institutions.
IGADInter-governmental Authority on Development, a Djibouti-based organization of
Horn of Africa states.
IMETInternational Military Education and Training, a form of military assistance.
MRAMigration and Refugee Assistance, a State Department program.
NEPADNew Partnership for Africa’s Development, an African initiative.
OECDOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization of
ODAOfficial Development Assistance, the OECD’s concept of DA.
OFDAOffice of Foreign Disaster Assistance, a part of USAID.
PCVsPeace Corps Volunteers
PEPFAPresident’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a Bush Administration initiative.
PKOPeacekeeping Operations account authorized by Part II, Chapter 6 of the Foreign
PVOsPrivate and voluntary organizations
SAEDFSouthern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, a USAID program.
SMMEsSmall, medium, and micro-enterprises.
UNECAUnited Nations Economic Commission for Africa, headquartered in Addis Ababa,
UNDPUnited Nations Development Program
USAIDU.S. Agency for International Development