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$17 Million in Foreign Assistance for the DRC August 13, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
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Earlier this week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US government plans to give $17 million in additional assistance to fight the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) high levels of sexual violence. This funding is separate from the $117 million that the State Department/ USAID have requested in the FY 2010 budget for the DRC. Roughly 76 percent of the requested funds for FY 2010 for the DRC relate to global health (HIV/AIDS, family planning) and policy-driven economic assistance. These funds will be used to support the DRC and provide for the basic needs of its citizens (basic education, agriculture, legislature capacity building).

The $17 million in additional assistance will provide medical care, counseling, economic assistance, legal support, and training for health care workers specifically with respect to the surgical procedures needed by survivors of rape. These funds will also be used by military engineers from US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to build sanitation and latrine facilities. AFRICOM will also provide technical support to experts who are exploring ways that mobile phones can be used to document and report instances of sexual violence. It is unclear, however, from which accounts these funds will be drawn.

Secretary Clinton announced this aid package the same time that Congress is considering the FY 2010 State and Foreign Operations’ appropriations bills. The House passed their version in June; the Senate bill is awaiting floor action once the Congress comes back from the August recess.

Generally speaking, US assistance to the DRC has shifted from a principally humanitarian and development focus (GHCS, DA, ESF, PL480) to more security-based initiatives. Substantial increases in Global Health and Child Survival and Economic Support Funds reflect a continued commitment to health and economic initiatives, while increases in FMF, PKO and NADR reflect security concerns. Noticeably, development assistance and food aid have decreased considerably.

Assistance to the Congo

($ in thousands)

International Affairs

FY 2008 Actual

FY 2009 Actual

FY 2010 Request

Global Health and Child Survival (State and USAID)

$61,229

$69,379

$75,284

Development Assistance

$23,918

$5,000

Economic Support Funds

$31,346

$42,800

$59,100

International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement

$1,488

$1,500

$1,700

Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs

$300

$1,000

International Military Education and Training

$504

$530

$500

Foreign Military Financing

$397

$600

$2,450

Peacekeeping

$5,455

$40,500

$21,000

PL480 Title II (Food Aid)

$80,801

$44,151

$16,000

Country Total

$205,138

$204,760

$177,034

It is important to note that $15 million of the FY 2009 Peacekeeping total was provided in the FY 2009 Emergency Supplemental, funds that will remain available through FY 2010 and are essentially FY 2010 money. This $15 million supports a “professional rapid reaction force”, essentially training Congolese forces “in the fundamental principles of respect for human rights and protection of civilians”. Peacekeeping initiatives mainly focus on reforming the military in the DRC, and provide advisory assistance, training, equipment and infrastructure improvement. Clearly, while the US has invested considerable funds into the DRC, there has been a lack of funding for issues of sexual violence. Hopefully, Secretary Clinton’s pledge will make a discernible difference in the lives of those most affected by the sexual violence that has raged in the DRC for more than a decade.

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Comments»

1. marisa - September 3, 2009

how does the US monitor the aid money given? will it be different from the past? Clearly very little has been done in DRC in terms of infrastructure, education and health services despite aid money coming in. It seems to me that there should be a lot more progress than there has been, so how is all of this to be monitored and not pocketed?


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