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GAMBIA-L  January 2004

GAMBIA-L January 2004

Subject:

U.S. to Begin New Approach on Foreign Aid

From:

Ebou Jallow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 3 Jan 2004 20:43:11 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a seismic shift in US foreign aid policy.  Hopefully Jammeh
shall take heed and do the right thing.  I have also initiated some
discussions with representatives of another donor country to the
Gambia.  This is just another timely blessing from Allah since I
happen to have a very good relationship with this diplomat since 1995
whilst serving the AFPRC.  The diplomats home country is very
interested in the current developments in Gambia.
_____________________________________________
Sat Jan 3, 6:27 PM ET
By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A revolution in U.S. foreign aid, rewarding countries
for how they govern, is finally ready to get under way, almost two
years after first promised by the Bush administration. The program
will favor countries whose governments are judged to be just rulers,
welcoming hosts for foreign investment and promoters of projects to
meet their people's basic health and education needs.
Corrupt police states need not apply.
Administration officials expect this year to inaugurate President
Bush (news - web sites)'s plan, known as the Millennium Challenge
Account, which he outlined in March 2002.
It contemplated $5 billion annually for the program starting in 2006,
a 50 percent increase over the base foreign aid budget of $10
billion.
The administration had hoped for $1.3 billion for the current budget
year, which began Oct. 1, as a starter; Congress has provided nothing
so far but is expected to approve $1 billion after it reconvenes this
month.
Bush's initiative came six months after the Sept. 11 attacks and
clearly has a national security component.
"Poverty, weak institutions and corruption can make weak states
vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their
borders," according to Bush's National Security Strategy report from
September 2002.
Andrew Natsios, administrator of the Agency for International
Development, calls it "a revolutionary new development initiative."
Based on long decades of experience, Natsios said, "money will not
solve the problem of bad policy" but can accelerate progress in
countries with enlightened governments.
Bush's idea is not without its critics.
Rep. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., an expert on Latin America, said the
program does nothing over the short term to help that region's
impoverished masses.
Chester Crocker, a top aide on Africa policy in the Reagan
administration, said the program is worthwhile but limited. He points
out that African countries being considered are small in number and
in size.
"This particular approach is good in countries that sort of work," he
said. "Philosophically, it makes some sense to do it this way. But
it's not a silver bullet that answers all the problems."
The program seems to have attracted more interest abroad than at
home. Natsios said in an interview that several governments are
tailoring their policies so that they might be among the lucky dozen
or so initial recipients of program money.
Natsios said he told the parliamentary leader in a European country
that his government's inability to deal with corruption meant that it
was out of the running for millennium challenge money.
Soon thereafter, Natsios said, the speaker saw to it that parliament
approved three anti-corruption bills.
Natsios would not identify that country or any of the countries that
are in the running.
Steve Radelet, of the Washington-based Center for Global Development,
said potential beneficiaries in the first round, based on program
criteria, are: Armenia, Bhutan, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Mongolia,
Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Any administration move to include Vietnam would be contested in
Congress because of the country's authoritarian government.
But Natsios said the lure of program money has galvanized a number of
governments to mend their ways. Countries not selected the first time
around could become eligible in the future.
It could go the other way as well. Bolivia, on Radelet's original
list, may have disqualified itself after its pro-American president,
Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, was forced out last month in a popular
uprising. A rising star these days on the Bolivian political scene is
Evo Morales, an avowed opponent of free markets.
Menendez and several colleagues are proposing a development fund of
$500 million per year for Latin America to fight growing poverty. He
noted that current U.S. aid for Latin America is skewed toward
military and counternarcotics assistance.
Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala and Venezuela, among others,
"remain on the verge of chaos, increased conflict or political
turmoil," Menendez said, and his information suggests none is a
prospective first-round beneficiary country.
Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., finds fault with the Bush program's
eligibility criteria and its proposed organizational structure.
Otherwise, Lantos said, the proposal is long overdue.
Lantos, senior Democrat on the House International Relations
Committee, called the program "ambitious and farsighted," with "the
potential of revolutionizing the way the United States promotes
democracy and development abroad."



=====
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the
inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he,
who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through
the valley of darkness... And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay
my vengeance upon thee"

__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Find out what made the Top Yahoo! Searches of 2003
http://search.yahoo.com/top2003

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