Saturday, May 12, 2012

Canada to freeze or cut aid to six African countries

Canada to freeze or cut aid to six African countries

ADDIS ABABA — The Conservative government of Canada this week said it plans to strip back overseas aid worth almost $380 million over the next three years as it tries to balance its books.

Ethiopia is the third-largest recipient of Canadian aid after Haiti and Afghanistan. Just last year Canada spent almost $180 million in the African nation in bilateral programmes that help alleviate hunger, promote education and development.

The office of International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda would not disclose the amount of the cutting backs but under Canada's financial plans aid for five African countries (Benin, Niger, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) will disappear all together.

Ms. Oda said funding for official development assistance put forward by Canadian organizations will continue in Ethiopia. She declared that her government plans to cut only in areas where commitment has been met. Furthermore she revealed that Canada channels its aid through international, multilateral and Canadian organizations and not directly to the Ethiopian government. On numerous occasion, Addis Ababa was accused of using foreign aid as political tool to oppress its opponents and opposition groups.

As part of its effort to help produce a budget surplus, Ottawa will scale back further $170 million from the Foreign Affairs department budget.


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