Last week in a White House press briefing, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was asked just how much of the aid package President Bush was committing as “new” money to Africa was in fact “new.” Hadley did the typical White House spin job:
U.S. bilateral assistance and assistance through multinational institutions that end up — that goes to Africa is about $4.3 billion. And the President’s programs — both a continuation and an expansion of some of those programs, that he’s announced in the past in this increased commitment to Africa, and the three additional programs that he talked about today, which will result in additional funds — should bring the United States in 2010 to in excess of $8.6 billion, which would be a doubling, or doubling-plus.
What the White House wants you to believe is that they’ve embarked on a new program to double aid to Africa by the end of the decade. Today, ActionAid, an international development agency group, released a report showing that over 90 percent of the African aid Bush announced was in fact old, committed money:
ActionAid International USA has determined that $4.1 billion of the $4.5 billion increase, in actuality, heralds from existing commitments that have already been announced earlier and approved.
Said Rick Rowden, policy analyst at ActionAid International USA, “The stinginess of the world’s richest country towards the world’s poorest region is not lost on the eyes of the world. President Bush still has an opportunity to rectify this position by offering significantly increased proposals at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.”