The Obama’s administration released its international affairs budget for fiscal 2014. The budgets figure of 52 billion dollars was to maintain its international affairs was about the same figure as that of 2013 after sequestration. The administration also called for the overall sweeping of US food aid, which was welcomed by the US aid community.
The administration budget was to keep the overall spending of the U.S international affairs intact. But according to a Devex analysis, it discloses that most of the U.S bilateral aid programs were due for cuts in fiscal 2014. Out of the 100 bilateral aid programs, 58 would see their budget cuts as compared with fiscal 2012 levels (Piccio 2013).
The only region were most of the U.S bilateral aid programs were most likely going to expand in fiscal 2014 was East Asia and the Pacific. 5 of the 13 U.S bilateral assistance programs in East Asia and the pacific were going to function with reduced budgets for next year. In a means to reaffirm its influence in the region, President Barack Obama promised to increase his administrations engagement in East Asia and the Pacific (Piccio 2013).
The regions that had received the most shares of U.S international affairs were the Middle East and North Africa. Out of the ten U.S bilateral aids, eight has been scheduled for cuts in fiscal 2014. Although the Obama administration has set aside 580 million dollars to assist the region through the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. The congress was not in support of the fund in 2013, it aims to help countries in the region undertaking political and economic reforms.
The winners on Obama’s aid budget
Obama’s administration had pledge 75 million dollars in bilateral assistance to Myanmar, an increase of 6.2% from 2012. As recognition of the country’s political reform process, the USAID revived its mission in Myanmar after a 23 year break. Obama also pledged to provide 170 million dollars in the space of two years towards humanitarian, democracy and economic development in Myanmar. Among the other winners were El Salvador, Tanzania, and the Philippines who were all part of the partnership for growth launched by the Obama administration in 2011. They had an increase in aid budget from fiscal 2012. El Salvador had an increase of 51%, Tanzania 17%, the Philippines 4%, for their pledge to a democratic government and sustainable development. Indonesia also saw its aid increase by 5% from 2012 as the Obama administration had requested 152 million dollars.
Countries who lost out were Iraq following America’s withdrawal in December 2011. They also reduced their involvement and development in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The Obama foreign aid was reduced by 9% from 2012. The foreign aid budget for South Sudan reduced considerably in fiscal 2014. The Obama administration had pledged to give 330 million dollars in U.S bilateral assistance to South Sudan a reduction of 8% from 2012. The reduction of foreign aid to South Sudan was as a result of an alleged misuse of the foreign aid (Piccio 2013). South Africa saw a reduction of 18% down from 2012. Most of the aid to South Africa went on to support programs on HIV and AIDS.