Lancaster has a great post today taking apart President Bush’s 2008 budget
to see where most of the aid money is going. In a nutshell, the big winners
are, unsurprisingly, Afghanistan and Iraq, with over $1 billion each. Then,
more surprisingly, come South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, each of which stands
to receive over $500 million, mainly in HIV/Aids funding. Sub-Saharan Africa
overall gets an eye-popping $4.6 billion. Next in line are Pakistan ($425 million),
Egypt ($415 million), and Jordan ($280 million).
Lancaster asks, apropos that $4.6 billion in HIV/Aids funding:
Can the relatively poor recipient countries, with weak health infrastructures,
handle such an enormous increase in funding, whether for abstinence and prevention
efforts, condom distribution, testing or the provision of anti-retrovirals?
And what happens after next year? Who is going to finance the anti-retrovirals
after next year or the year after that? The countries with the high infection
rates will not be able to afford such expenditures for a long time to come.
Will PEPFAR become an entitlement for the foreseeable future – because if
we begin to finance widespread distribution of anti-retrovirals, we cannot
withdraw that financing until the recipients can finance it themselves or
we will be complicit in their certain deaths.
Lancaster also notes that aid to Israel is now zero: the aid world has changed
a lot since Israel and Egypt invariably topped the league tables. Interestingly,
she doesn’t even mention Colombia, or anywhere in Latin America bar Haiti and