Tuesday, July 1, 2008

GAO: U.S. aid to Africa is 'fragmented'

The Secretary of State's defense of the Bush administration's foreign policy, which I wrote about last month, mentioned that U.S. development assistance to Africa has increased four-fold since 2001. The glass-half-empty part of this, however, is that U.S. aid efforts in Africa are ill-coordinated and have slighted long-term agricultural development, as have multilateral lenders. The GAO said this in a report released at the end of May: see Anthony Faiola, "Food Relief for Africa 'Insufficient,' GAO Says," Wash Post, 5/29/08. With food prices rising sharply, the World Bank is taking steps to re-emphasize agriculture, the article notes, but U.S. efforts in this area probably will remain inefficient (because they rely on American-grown food) and focused too much on the short term.

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