The United States Government says it plans to spend a total of $34 billion in foreign aid for the 2017 full year, out of which $606 million is earmarked for Nigeria.
This is expected to bring total aid to Nigeria in two years to $1.214 million, considering that $608 million was set aside for current year.
In a series of tweets and infographs by the U.S Consulate in Abuja on Thursday, the $1.214 billion for 2016 and 2017 brings ‘U.S foreign assistance to Nigeria’ in five years since 2013 to $2.563 billion.
A further breakdown of the figure shows that Nigeria received $466 million in 2013, which increased to $473 the following year, before dropping to $410.4 million last year.
Details of this year’s assistance shows that while the health sector got the lion’s share of $536 million or 88.44% of the amount pledged in assistance year, assistance towards ‘democracy, human rights and governance,’ followed with $27 million; and economic development,’ $23 million.
The tweets were part of activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID).
In all of those five and a half decades, according to the consulate, USAID has helped to ensure healthier and more productive people around the world, “because of American investments in global development.”
Foreign assistance, the U.S government explains, “is aid given by the United States to other countries to support global peace, security, and development efforts, and provide humanitarian relief during times of crisis. It is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States and vital to U.S. national security.”
Giving a background, it recalled that “the first U.S. aid programme took shape after World War II when then Secretary of State George Marshall acted to provide significant aid to Europe after the war, to assist the continent in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening its economy, and stabilizing the region. This led to the creation of several foreign assistance programs in subsequent years to build off the success of the Marshall Plan.
“The next milestone for foreign assistance occurred in 1961, when President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This marked a significant increase in U.S. foreign assistance efforts and USAID became the first U.S. foreign assistance agency whose primary focus was long-term global development to include economic and social progress.”
Such assistance now exist in over 100 countries across the globe through more than 20 different U.S agencies, just as the “investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.”