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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Foreign aid represents a relatively recent element in the interaction between sovereign states. Most scholars agree that modern foreign aid came into existence only after the Second World War when the United States started to support countries around the world, especially in Europe. Additionally, foreign aid seemingly represents an exception to the prevailing rules of statecraft in which states generally act on the basis of their respective national interests.
Aid, as the term in itself already implies, is usually understood by laymen as having its main goal to help the developing world through inducing economic, social, and political development in the recipient states. Equally, the very words aid or assistance seem to imply a disinterested and altruistic motivation on the part of the donor states. Yet, a closer look at the patterns of aid distribution by donor states, or into the technical literature on the subject quickly reveals that altruism does not seem to constitute the only motivation for aid-giving. (Ian little, Juliet Clifford and Osvaldo Feinstein, 1965), have addressed the confusion surrounding this technology already by stating that ―buying something from a man may help him, but one does not speak of ‗aiding‘ him if it is something that one wants.‖ Hence, the question is posed: What are the intentions and rationales of donor states if the motivation for aid-giving is not purely humanitarian and altruistic? It is in this subject where the main interest of the present work lies.
In recent times, during the presidential administration of Bill Clinton, the American foreign aid program underwent the most fundamental changes in its entire history regarding the amounts of aid allocated to developing countries. Most strikingly, the amounts of Official Development
Assistance (ODA) distributed by the United States, if measured in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars, reached both an all-time minimum as well as a historic peak within less than a decade (1997 with $9 billion and 2005 with $31 billion, respectively). Thus, the subject of interest of the present work is to explain these changes regarding the amounts and the ways of U.S. foreign aid allocation, i.e. to define what the reasons and the motivations were that led the United States to undertake these changes in its foreign aid policies during the time in question here.
To understand the in-depth position of the topic and its motives, we have to understand the direct relationship between the activities of the bill Clinton administration and the exact parts of Africa this aids where targeted to affect more so its necessity at that time. Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara Desert. Politically, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara (excluding Sudan, even though Sudan sits in the Eastern portion of the Sahara desert).
Poverty, debt, endemic disease and poor governance are critical issues affecting the future of Africa. Economic, strategic, political, and societal interests, intertwined within any one African country, are easily influenced by events across porous borders. Economic growth for the region has been sluggish—barely able to keep pace with an average population growth of 2.6%. As a consequence, 34 of the continent‘s countries now rank among the world‘s least developed nations, compared to only 27 in 1996. Further sapping Africa‘s potential for development is a large and growing HIV/AIDS population—some 25 million people or 70% of the 36 million infected worldwide. The linkage of poverty and terrorism only add urgency to the rising problem. Ideas of how best to develop Africa change frequently as the years pass. Parts of Africa are potentially rich and prosperous; others are poor and likely to remain so for many years. Some areas are inviting and accessible; others are forbidding and inaccessible. Although
some conventional wisdom tends to dismiss Africa‘s importance for the U.S., each one of Africa‘s five regions is significant enough in terms of population, potential economic development, impact on global issues and even current trade ties, to warrant sustained policy attention. Circumstances on the continent are likely to compel a greater commitment of resources than U.S. policymakers currently contemplate. When the U.S. is greatly involved in Africa, they are more powerful and important; when the U.S. is less involved, their status diminishes. (Lieutenant Colonel Jacqueline E. Cumbo, 2003).
Bill Clinton (born 1946), the 42nd U.S. president, served in office from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, the Arkansas native and Democrat was governor of his home state. During Clinton‘s time in the White House, America enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity, marked by low unemployment, declining crime rates and a budget surplus. During his time as president, Clinton accomplished quiet a number of things in the white house some of which are: Clinton appointed a number of women and minorities to top government posts, including Janet Reno, the first female U.S. attorney general, and Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state.
- Clinton supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he signed into law in 1994.
- His presidency saw the passage of welfare reform in Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children and reduced the number of welfare programs which received support from both political parties.
- He also signed the reversal of the Glass-Steagall Act which was designed to prevent financial institutions from getting too big to fail.
Clinton was inaugurated in January 1993 at age 46, making him the third-youngest president in history up to that time. During his first term, Clinton enacted a variety of pieces of domestic legislation, including the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Violence against Women Act, along with key bills pertaining to crime and gun violence, education, the environment and welfare reform. He put forth measures to reduce the federal budget deficit and also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated trade barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico. He attempted to enact universal health insurance for all Americans, and appointed first lady Hillary Clinton to head the committee charged with creating the plan. However, the committee‘s plan was opposed by conservatives and the health care industry, among others, and Congress ultimately failed to act on it.
During Clinton‘s second term, the U.S. economy was healthy, unemployment was low and the nation experienced a major technology boom and the rise of the Internet. In 1998, the United States achieved its first federal budget surplus in three decades (the final two years of Clinton‘s presidency also resulted in budget surpluses). In 2000, the president signed legislation establishing permanent normal trade relations with China. Additionally, the Clinton administration helped broker a peace accord in Northern Ireland in 1998. That same year, America launched air attacks against Iraq‘s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. In 1999, the United States led a NATO effort to end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. In the midst of these events, Clinton‘s second term was marred by scandal. On December 19, 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached him for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a sexual relationship he had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky (1973) between late 1995 and early 1997.
―A New Game: The Clinton Administration on Africa by Frank Smyth, June 3rd, 1998, World Policy Journal‖. The Clinton has forced America attention on Sub-Sahara Africa like no other administration before it. Bill Clinton administration was from January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001 as the 42nd president of the United States. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third youngest President, belonging to the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton‘s 1998 tour initiated the modern era of formal visits to Sub-Sahara Africa; there were subsequent visits after this to Africa.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act [AGOA] is also a legislation that has been approved by the U.S Congress in May 2000. The purpose of this legislation is to assist the econ
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