TELL CONGRESS: DON'T ABANDON AFRICA! FY98 Foreign Assistance Bills May Ignore the Continent
by Washington Office on Africa
Washington, DC, United States
The mailing explains moves by Congress since 1995 to reduce funding for foreign aid in general and to end earmarked funding for the Development Fund for Africa (DFA) that it created in 1987 to support for sustainable development initiatives throughout Africa. DFA programs were intended to emphasize poverty reduction, popular participation in development planning, and gender equality. In FY96 and FY97, Africa aid programs suffered disproportionately large cuts. The mailing says in an effort to appease critics, Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-AL) inserted a clause in the bill that stipulated that the DFA should receive a comparable "proportion" of development assistance funds compared to the previous year. The mailing says now even this "proportionality" language may be lost in the FY98 appropriations bill. The mailing says ironically, Congress may abandon Africa-specific aid programs at the moment when both the Clinton Administration and Congress have begun to acknowledge that effective U.S. support for broad-based economic growth in Africa must involve complimentary action on multiple fronts. in particular, ordinary Africans are unlikely to derive any lasting benefits from new initiatives to promote trade with and investment in Africa without simultaneous provision of substantial debt relief and development assistance. In September, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) plans to offer an amendment to the House appropriations bill (H.R. 2159) to restore proportionality language similar to that adopted in 1995 and 1996; he will only be able to do so, however, if Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-AL), the Chair of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, permits it. The mailing asks people to contact Callahan and urge him to accept and actively support the Payne amendment. The Washington Office on Africa and other members of the International Round Table on Nigeria will sponsor an Advocacy Day on Nigeria on September 16, 1997 to support the Nigeria Democracy Act (H.R. 1786) calling for increased sanctions on Nigeria's repressive military regime. Find more background in the Nigeria Background Paper published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), WOA's educational affiliate. The mailing includes Washington Notes on Africa (UPDATE-August 1997) with an article "Global Treaty to Ban Landmines Requires Urgent Action." The mailing discusses a comprehensive treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senators (including Patrick Leahy and Chuck Hagel), the Landmine Elimination Act of 1997 (S. 896), the UN Convention on Disarmament, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice President Al Gore, the UN Conference on Disarmament, the Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Ottawa ban treaty, the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, the OAU Conference Toward a Landmine-Free Africa, and Issue Brief on Landmines.
Used by permission of the Washington Office on Africa.
Collection: Aubrey McCutcheon papers, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections