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Assistance and Debt Relief

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Trip to Africa


The United States is third among bilateral donors to Sub-Saharan Africa, behind Franceand Japan. The United States is a leading bilateral donor to Ethiopia, Angola, Liberia,South Africa and Somalia, among others. Reductions in overall U.S. foreign aid in recentyears disguise the Administration's success in fending off worse cuts and increasing thepercentage of aid to Africa.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the principle conduit forlong-term development assistance, with programs in health, education, economic growth,population, democracy, environment and expanded efforts in crisis prevention.Appropriations for Africa in Fiscal Year (FY) 1998 are $700 million, up 5 percentfrom FY 1997. USAID's regional programs include the Initiative for Southern Africa, whichprovides $300 million over five years to strengthen democracy, natural resources andinfrastructure and boost U.S. private sector links. The President's Greater Horn of AfricaInitiative supports conflict prevention and food security objectives in East Africa.

U.S. humanitarian relief for Africa includes PL-480 food grants and refugee anddisaster assistance. In FY 1996, the United States provided about $760 million inemergency aid to Africa through these accounts, almost double what it was 10 years ago.Military aid, Economic Support Funds and African Development Foundation projects augmentthese building blocks of U.S. bilateral aid. In FY 1998, the United States is providing$1 billion to the International Development Association of the World Bank, whichconsistently lends half of its funding to Africa on highly concessional terms. Inaddition, countless U.S.-based, non-governmental organizations use funds from donorcountries and private sources to assist Africa.

The United States provides debt relief through the Paris Club of creditor nations tosupport economic reform in African countries. About one-third of Sub-Saharan Africa'slong-term debt is owed to Paris Club and other bilateral creditors. The United States hascommitted to forgive $250 million in official non-concessional debt owed by 10 Africancountries under the Paris Club "Naples" terms. Outside the Paris Club, theUnited States has forgiven more than $1.2 billion in official bilateral debt owed by 20 ofAfrica's poorest countries, including Senegal and Uganda. Under the President'sPartnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa, the Administration is seekingappropriations to extinguish remaining bilateral concessional debt owed by Africancountries that undertake aggressive efforts to reform their economies and open theirmarkets.

The United States is working closely with other bilateral and multilateral creditors onan initiative to provide extraordinary relief to heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC).For these countries, most of which are in Africa, concessional relief by the Paris Clubalone will not be enough to make debt burdens sustainable.

Uganda will be the first country to receive HIPC debt relief -- a package worth $700million in nominal terms -- in April 1998. Burkina Faso also has qualified for HIPC reliefworth $200 million, to be finalized in April 2000. HIPC eligibility decisions arepending for Mozambique and Cote d'Ivoire, among others.

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Debt Relief