Aid to Africa triples during Bush presidency, but strings attached

The foreign affairs legacy of President George Bush so far speaks most loudly of terrorism, Afghanistan and the quagmire of Iraq.

But statistics just compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reveal that since taking over the Oval Office, Mr Bush, partly under pressure from his Christian supporters as well as celebrities such as Bono and Bob Geldof, has dramatically increased US aid to Africa.

Indeed, African nations have seen both development and direct humanitarian aid from the United States jump from a total of $1.4bn in 2001 to $4bn (£2bn) a year today. Over the same period, trade between the US and the continent has more than doubled.

The development aid is complemented by Mr Bush's rapidly growing commitment to fighting HIV and Aids in Africa, as well as malaria. In what has become the largest health initiative of his presidency - the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) - Mr Bush has pledged $15bn over five years to fight HIV in Africa and provide drugs for Aids victims.

It is a record that has not been widely noticed in the US, particularly by critics of President Bush who prefer to play up his image on the world stage as narrowly focused on Iraq and fighting terror.

Nor is there any obvious domestic political dividend for him in reinforcing his African credentials. "He should be known for doubling development assistance and tripling it to Africa after a period in which US development assistance was essentially flat for decades," the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted recently. "He should be known for the largest single investment in Aids and malaria, the biggest health investment of any government programme ever."

Pushing Mr Bush to step up his commitment to Africa has been his core base of Christian supporters, for whom the Aids crisis and continuing strife on the continent has become a central issue.

"Bush and his Christian supporters seldom get the credit they deserve for their role in the global fight against Aids," the Los Angeles Times noted. "US spending on the disease overseas under Bush has risen tenfold, while Christian groups have given unselfishly to the cause."

In an another example of accelerating development aid to Africa, President Bush signed a law just before Christmas pledging $52m annually for fiscal years 2006 and 2007 to the Democratic Republic of Congo following elections there. As with aid to other countries, it comes with strings attached, including a requirement that the government open up to trade and foreign investors.

Some African specialists complain that because of such conditions, American assistance is still more about self-interest than altruism.

"I know a lot of activist groups who believe that the President's stated commitment to Africa is, at best, a play on words," Nii Akuetteh, executive director of Africa Action, an advocacy organisation, told The Washington Post. "There are conditions that are attached where the emphasis is more on countries that open up their markets so American companies can go in and privatise things."

There was also early anxiety that the Pepfar programme on Aids was overly influenced by its Christian backers, who insisted on a heavy emphasis on sexual abstinence, a strategy many health care experts consider misguided. But as Pepfar has grown in importance, many of those doubts are fading.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform