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Trump plans deep cuts in US aid budget for Kenya

The cuts are part of an overall rollback in US funding for many Africa-focused programmes.

President Donald Trump’s latest proposed budget calls for deep cuts in aid to Kenya as part of an overall rollback in US funding for many Africa-focused programmes.

Support for development initiatives in Kenya would fall from the $102 million provided in 2018 to $43.5 million under Mr Trump’s spending plan for the US 2020 fiscal year that begins next October.

A similar reduction of more than 50 per cent is sought in US economic and development assistance for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. It would plummet from $1.5 billion approved by Congress for 2018 to $665 million in 2020.

In its State Department budget proposal issued on Monday, the White House justifies these cuts as ways of “reducing dependency on US assistance and increasing self-sufficiency” on the part of African nations.

Touting the “Prosper Africa” plan it outlined in December, the Trump administration says it wants to “fundamentally transform the nature of our bilateral relationship with these countries from an aid-based focus to true trade partnership.”

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Health programmes in Kenya overseen by the US Agency for International Development would be allocated $54 million in the coming year, compared to $82 million appropriated in 2018. Even steeper reductions would be made in the HIV/Aids programme known as President’s Emergency Programme for Aids Relief (Pepfar) that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives in Kenya. Mr Trump wants to allocate $276 million for this State Department-administered effort in Kenya, compared to $441 million the US spent in 2018.

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The proposed downscaling of Pepfar in Kenya reflects the 22 per cent cut that Mr Trump is seeking for the entire programme, which was launched in 2003.

The White House also wants to end US support for the African Development Bank and for the Young African Leaders Initiative that President Obama crafted to develop influential figures in the coming years.

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