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OAU appeals to U.S. not to cut aid to Africa

From: Information <info@afrique.com>
16 January, 1995

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) Monday appealed to the U.S. Republican-led Congress not to reduce development assistance to a poor African continent grappling with economic reforms.

In the name of the pan-African body's 52 member states, acting OAU Secretary-General Brawnson Dede said: "The threat by the new Republican-dominated Congress to cut development aid to Africa is deeply regrettable."

"Africa is perhaps the only continent embarking on two policy reforms - political and economic - at the same time. This region deserves the support of the U.S. and other donor nations," Dede said in a statement.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs George Moose said last week Africa would come under close scrutiny following calls for cuts in foreign aid from Republicans now in control of Congress.

Moose has said the United States spent $3 billion in Africa in 1994.

"The OAU appeals on behalf of its members to the U.S. government and Congress not to be seen contemplating to reduce assistance to Africa - not mainly for its financial impact, but because the U.S., in many ways a leader of the international community, could encourage other donors to follow its path," said the Addis Ababa-based OAU.

Africa, with a foreign debt estimated at $360 billion, depends heavily on external handouts for its survival.

Dede urged the United States to emulate Britain and France in seeking ways to resolve the external debt crisis which "is Africa's number one problem and which retards development."