For the third time in his tenure, US President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for deep cuts in aid to Kenya as part of an overall rollback in US funding for many Africa-focused programs.
Support for development initiatives in Kenya will fall from Ksh10.2 billion provided in 2018 to Ksh4.35 billion in accordance with Trump’s spending plan for the 2020 US fiscal year that begins October.
A similar reduction of more than 50 per cent is sought in US economic and development assistance for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. It will plummet from Ksh150 billion approved by Congress for 2018 to Ksh66.5 billion in 2020.
With the cuts, health programs in Kenya overseen by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) would be budgeted at Ksh54 billion in the coming year, compared to Ksh82 billion in 2018.
The American president had asked Congress in each of the past two years to slash aid to Africa, but the House and Senate — which were then controlled by the president’s own Republican Party — largely ignored those proposals
Trump wants to allocate Ksh27.6 million for this State Department-administered effort in Kenya, compared to Ksh44.1 billion the US spent in 2018.
At a press briefing in Washington on Monday, a reporter asked why the State Department and USAID were slated for a 23 per cent funding cut while the overall US budget would be reduced by five per cent.
Doug Pitkin, a State Department budget and planning official, responded that Trump’s proposal “does support diplomacy and development, just at a different set of priorities with lower spending on some program.”
The White House also apparently wants to end US support for the African Development Bank and for the Young African Leaders Initiative that President Obama crafted as a way of wooing Africans who could become influential figures in the coming years.
In its State Department budget proposal, the White House justifies these cuts as ways of “reducing dependency on US assistance and increasing self-sufficiency” on the part of African nations.
This hasn’t gone down well with the organizations that would be affected by this budget cuts as some labelled Trump’s move as dangerous as is likely to have the opposite effect he intends—it may ultimately make the world less safe and destabilize global economies.
Promoting poverty reduction, and ultimately wealth creation can also be good for American businesses. In East Africa, for example, economies are growing, and the U.S. already has a trade surplus with the region wrote David Hong, a senior global policy analyst at One Acre Fund in the organization’s website.