Members of the Pan-African Parliament, which is located in Johannesburg, South Africa, have reportedly criticized plans by new U.S. President Donald Trump to cut foreign aid.
On Thursday, Continental Parliament President Bernadette Lahai reportedly criticized the impending reduction of foreign aid by the new U.S. administration, saying it will have a devastating effect on Africa, reports SABC.
Lahai added, “No country is independent from each other. We want fair trade not aid.”
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Reports from Washington, D.C., suggest that President Trump may cut foreign aid by at least 37 percent, which many say will have an adverse effect on the ongoing U.S.-funded peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in Africa.
Immediately after taking over power in January, President Trump unveiled his budget to increase military spending by 10 percent by reducing funds allocated for foreign aid and other government programs.
More Harm Than Good
Some top U.S. leaders, including Senator Marco Rubio, have criticized this plan, arguing that drastic cuts to foreign aid are likely to take the United States in the wrong direction from a moral standpoint and with national security:
Foreign Aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 28, 2017
Each year, the United States spends $42 billion on foreign assistance, a sum that is less than 1 percent of the federal budget. In fact, the U.S. defense budget is the largest in the world, according to Humanospere.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump promised to stop sending “foreign aid to countries that hate us.”
But his critics argue that having a smaller State Department makes America less safe since many of the global challenges that the country is facing today, including terrorism and the drug trade, are born and bred in poorly governed and poverty-stricken countries.
A good example is Somalia, where the United States continues to offer military assistance in the fight against al-Shabaab, an Islamic terror group pushing to establish a caliphate in Somalia.
For more than two decades, Somalia has endured a deadly civil war between militants and government forces.
The conflict has left thousands of people dead and millions exiled to neighboring countries.
In addition, through the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. government has played a critical role in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa by ensuring easy access to antiretroviral drugs to patients and fostering sustainability of lifelong HIV treatment services.