TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US to double Africa aid under Obama

Monday, 18 May 2009

Source: The East Standard (Kenya)

The US Government will double its aid to Africa during President Barack Obama’s presidency to cushion against the financial crisis, Mrs Ronnie Goldberg, the Executive Vice-President of the United States Council for International Business has said.

Speaking during the African Employers Conference in Nairobi yesterday, Goldberg said the US would strengthen the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa).

"Although US aid to Africa increased significantly under the Bush administration, President Obama has promised to double it by the end of his first term," she said.

"We also have a number of priorities in the areas of fighting poverty in Africa."

She said the crisis has hit labour markets in developed and developing countries very hard, leading to unemployment crisis. As the situation improves in the US, attention turns to developing countries where US will focus on giving financial and technical support to mitigate effects of the crisis.

Duty free access

"Since 2000, Agoa has been accorded special attention aimed at leveraging duty free access of African products on the US market. Among the President’s proposals is to strengthen the African trade through Agoa. It will involve providing technical assistance and infrastructural support to it’s beneficiaries. US supports regional integration and will also help capital flow to Africa," she said.

Ms Goldberg said about 70 per cent of economic activity in the US had stabilised with credit payments improving. However, she cautioned that even with renewed hope, job cuts are likely to continue.