Cover Story

Increased aid for nations that 'govern justly'

Issue: "The $10 billion gamble," April 6, 2002

President Bush says expanded aid to developing countries is necessary because "hope is an answer to terror ... opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity ... because faith requires it and conscience demands it." While per-capita income in poor countries has doubled in two generations, half of the world's population lives on under $2 a day. AIDS and civil wars are depleting life expectancy. Under the president's plan, aid will increase by $10 billion over three years-a 50 percent increase in what the United States now spends. He will propose to Congress adding $1.66 billion for fiscal year 2004; $3.33 billion for 2005; and $5 billion for 2006. Under this plan, humanitarian assistance accumulates in a special fund dubbed the Millennium Challenge account and goes only to nations "that govern justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom." In concrete terms that means:

  • Rooting out corruption, upholding human rights, and adhering to the rule of law.
  • Investment in schools, health care, and immunization.
  • Sound economic policies that foster enterprise and entrepreneurship: more open markets, sustainable budget policies, and strong support for development.

Existing programs to provide food to North Korea and textbooks to Afghanistan will not be dropped, even though they do not qualify for the new funds.

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