US President Trump proposes massive aid cuts

Thursday March 16 2017

US funding for international aid and

US funding for international aid and development through the UN and its own agencies could be slashed to boost funding for the military under President Trump's first budget. PHOTO | FILE 

By BBC

US funding for international aid and development through the United Nations and its own agencies could be slashed to boost funding for its military and plans to build a wall between America and Mexico under President Trump's first budget proposals.

If approved by Congress, the proposals would see the US State Department funding cut by $10.9bn (£8.9bn) or 28 per cent and the Environmental Protection Agency funding cut by $2.6bn or 31 per cent.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the "core functions" of those agencies would be preserved - so the cuts would target foreign aid, grants to multilateral development agencies like the World Bank and climate change programmes at the UN.

Some foreign military grants would be shifted to loans.

Cuts to other departments would also end foreign assistance programmes. Plans to cut funding to the Health Department specifically call for the end of a division that focuses on global health.

Meanwhile, a 21 per cent cut to the budget of the Agriculture Department would end a popular programme that helps US farmers donate crops for overseas food aid.

Mr Trump also wants to close a raft of independent agencies funded by tax dollars.

They including the US Institute of Peace - which works to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflict around the world - and the African Development Foundation (USADF), which provides seed money and other support to African-owned and led enterprises in poor and vulnerable communities in about 20 African countries.

The USADF says it has committed $53.5m into 325 grants ranging from core agriculture sustainability and market programmes to work with young entrepreneurs, vulnerable populations and promoting off-grid electricity.