The outgoing Bush administration
considers its various foreign aid programs to be among its greatest
achievements. USAID, the US Agency for International Development, provides much
of that assistance. Besides supplying aid in times of disaster and conflict, the
agency works to advance human rights, economic growth and democratic reforms.
Fore is the USAID administrator, the first woman to hold that position. Fore is
also director of US Foreign Assistance. She spoke to VOA English to Africa
Service reporter Joe De Capua about the Bush administration’s foreign aid
been a very important time for USAID. In the past eight years, there has really
been a watershed in our thinking and in our resources. The Bush administration
has raised the profile of development in a way that we have not seen since the
Marshall Plan (after World War Two) and the onset of the Cold War,” she says.
says foreign assistance has tripled worldwide, but in Africa it’s increased
four-fold.“That’s a very important
legacy just in terms of our commitment as a nation and as a people,” she says.
highlights HIV/AIDS and development programs, calling them “innovative.”
Millennium Challenge Corporation was begun, where we’re focusing on
infrastructure and real accountability by countries. The president’s initiative
on HIV/AIDS (PEPFAR), which has changed many lives and is the largest
commitment we’ve made to a single disease by any country ever. So it is a very
important change in looking at the chain of pharmaceuticals and help to people
in villages in how to address HIV/AIDS,” she says.
USAID administrator says the president’s malaria initiative has reached 25
million people in the last year alone. Fore also says the administration has
responded to the ongoing food crisis.
are more than half of the world’s food aid. And as a result we bear a special
responsibility and commitment to helping people in greatest need,” she says.
why the United States bears a special responsibility, she says, “If you have an
ongoing program, let us say it is in Darfur, there are three million people a
day who are being fed because of the generosity of the American people. These
people would starve, particularly women and children.… Food assistance -- this
is an area that has great attention around the world because of the high
prices, the lack of availability of food. And America is an enormous producer
of food…. So we have the ability to be generous.”
food aid, technical assistance is often provided in agricultural programs, for
example. “We are focusing on doubling the production of staple food in Africa,”
Fore were to make recommendations to the incoming Obama administration, she
says, “We have many things that still need to be done. But I would focus on the
number of Americans overseas. We have just begun an initiative called the
Development Leadership Initiative, which is doubling the number of Foreign
Service officers that are out around the world doing our development work. And
this initiative is probably the most important we have, which is to staff-up
programs address democratic elections and governance, economic growth, health,
education and disaster assistance. “All of these sectors need the Americans who
are there talking about and sharing their experiences for how to improve those
countries’ development,” she says.
Fore says there are about 18 elections
in Africa alone this year and attention should be paid to helping ensure free
and fair democratic process.