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A record of accomplishment.(10 posts)

A record of accomplishment.Sintesi
Jul 16, 2002 9:38 AM
U.S. foreign assistance programs have a long and distinguished list of accomplishments. Here are just a few examples of what the one half of one percent of the federal budget dedicated to economic and humanitarian assistance has achieved:

More than 3 million lives are saved every year through USAID immunization programs.

Eighty thousand people and $1 billion in U.S. and Filipino assets were saved due to early warning equipment installed by USAID that warned that the Mount Pinatubo volcano was about to erupt in 1991.

Oral rehydration therapy, a low cost and easily administered solution developed through USAID programs in Bangladesh, is credited with saving tens of millions of lives around the globe.

Forty-three of the top 50 consumer nations of American agricultural products were once U.S. foreign aid recipients. Between 1990 and 1993, U.S. exports to developing and transition countries increased by $46 billion.

In the 28 countries with the largest USAID-sponsored family planning programs, the average number of children per family has dropped from 6.1 in the mid-1960s to 4.2 today.

There were 58 democratic nations in 1980. By 1995, this number had jumped to 115 nations.

USAID provided democracy and governance assistance to 36 of the 57 nations that successfully made the transition to democratic government during this period.

Over the past decade, USAID has targeted some $15 million in technical assistance for the energy sectors of developing countries. U.S. assistance has built a $50 billion annual market for private power. U.S. firms are capturing the largest share of these markets, out-competing Japan and Germany.

Life expectancy in the developing world has increased by about 33 percent, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, and in the past 20 years, the number of the world's chronically undernourished has been reduced by 50 percent.

The United Nations Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade, in which USAID played a major role, resulted in 1.3 billion people receiving safe drinking water sources, and 750 million people receiving sanitation for the first time.

With the help of USAID, 21,000 farm families in Honduras have been trained in improved land cultivation practices which have reduced soil erosion by 70,000 tons.

Agricultural research sponsored by the United States sparked the "Green Revolution" in India. These breakthroughs in agricultural technology and practices resulted in the most dramatic increase in agricultural yields and production in the history of mankind, allowing nations like India and Bangladesh to become nearly food self-sufficient.

After initial USAID start-up support for loans and operating costs, Banco Solidario (BancoSol) became the first full-fledged commercial bank in Latin America dedicated to microbusiness. BancoSol serves about 44,000 small Bolivian businesses, with loans averaging $200 each. The bank now is a self-sustaining commercial lender that needs no further USAID assistance.

More than 50 million couples worldwide use family planning as a direct result of USAID's population program.

In the past 50 years, infant and child death rates in the developing world have been reduced by 50 percent, and health conditions around the world have improved more during this period than in all previous human history.

Since 1987, USAID has initiated HIV/AIDS prevention programs in 32 countries, and is the recognized technical leader in the design and development of these programs in the developing world. Over 850,000 people have been reached with USAID HIV prevention education, and 40,000 people have been trained to support HIV/AIDS programs in their own countries.

Early USAID action in southern Africa in 1992 prevented massive famine in the region, saving millions of lives.

USAID-sponsored energy efficiency experts working in Almaty, Kazakhstan helped local officials put in place improved systems that drastically
Jul 16, 2002 9:40 AM
USAID-sponsored energy efficiency experts working in Almaty, Kazakhstan helped local officials put in place improved systems that drastically reduced pollution and led to more than a million barrels of fuel oil being saved in just a three month period.

Literacy rates are up 33 percent worldwide in the last 25 years, and primary school enrollment has tripled in that period.

U.S. exports of food processing and packaging machinery have increased from about $100 million in 1986, to an estimated $680 million in 1994. This huge increase is due partly to USAID-funded projects that have increased supplies of agricultural raw materials for processing and have given potential processors the information, technical assistance and training they needed to start or expand their businesses.

USAID child survival programs have made a major contribution to a 10 percent reduction in infant mortality rates worldwide in just the past eight years.

Millions of entrepreneurs around the world (many of them women) have started or improved small businesses through USAID assistance.

Investments by the U.S. and other donors in better seeds and agricultural techniques over the past two decades have helped make it possible to feed an extra billion people in the world.
you are one heavy dude :-| nmDougSloan
Jul 16, 2002 9:53 AM
Cut and paste mood. And why not?Sintesi
Jul 16, 2002 9:57 AM
Cut and paste mood. And why not?Jon Billheimer
Jul 16, 2002 1:40 PM
Interesting info. and a valid counterpoint to isolationist sentiments.
Jul 17, 2002 12:29 AM
Looks about as isolationist as you can get to me. Appears that the US was solely responsible for the above. I bet some international aid organisations would have words to say about that.....
Jul 17, 2002 4:22 AM
It does go a little overboard, it neglects to mention the contributions from other countries and, of course, the contributions of the receiving nations themselves. Some proclamations are a little vague, and obviously self-aggrandizing, but USAid doesn't get a lot of notice here and abroad (obviously) so I can forgive them for trumpeting a little too loud.

This country can do more, needs to do more, yet at the same time has done quite a bit already -- really, in the aggregate, enormous good. People need to acknowledge this.
Not sure how true that is.muncher
Jul 17, 2002 5:37 AM
I take the point; I don't know how the US media handles it, but there is quite a bit of coverage of US aid efforts in the more international media (for those that follow it, which is of course a minority). I also notice that the receiving nations are aware of the donor countries, not least through packaging etc of the aid itself, which is perhaps the most important thing. Of course, there are nations that are simply not going to give credit to the US/alliance agaist terror/whatever nations in any event, and if they do cover such issues at all, it becomes cloaked in "imperialist take-over" rhetoric.

In my (albeit limited) experience of the US and issues such as these, it seems to often be the case that about the least well informed people are those within the US itself (I don't wish to add to the usual patronising tide of comment about the introspective nature of the US media, but there is, it seems to me a lot of truth in it).

To the extent then that it informs the citizens of the US, stuff like the above can be useful. However, one must be watchful of that kind of reporting. What seems to be a little harmless "self patting on the back" at home, can easily be seen as jingoistic tub-thumping by those who already see a lot more of American influence on the world that many Americans themselves do. This is particularly so in fields like aid, where it is easy to question donor's motives, especially at a time where the US/allied alliance is openly trying to court favour with nations for other purposes.
Motives and BalanceJon Billheimer
Jul 17, 2002 6:20 AM
Regardless of what an alpha country like the U.S. does, its motives are going to impugned. It is also true that real American altruism is intermingled with narrow self-interests. However, in fairness since the U.S. is justifiably criticized for its international bullying (which it deserves)and shortsighted stupidity, America should be credited with the good that it promotes. American economic imperialism does harm others and third world countries do suffer from globalization, but there are probably more positive than negative effects in the long run. Also, we don't see truly evil nations sharing their largesse with others.
Jul 17, 2002 7:03 AM
What you say seems true. But that does not mean that the "sharing of largesse" doesn't happen, just that we don't see it - it's not reported, probably because much of it is (rightly) dismissed as propaganda.

I'm not entirely convinced the long-term effects of globalization however. It seems that much of the imporvements in the 3W have occured desipte, rather than because of, capitialism, though the effort of aid agencies etc. It's as absurd as it is unacceptable that Africa (Angola for example) is in famine while the West is concerned about youth obeisity and other aspects of the "fat culture" we are now in.

A lot of problems are caused by the guns, land-mines and other arms we sell them for profit. No western nation it seems to me can legitimately claim to have an ethical arms trading policy (and certainly not the UK) at this time. All that without getting into issues such as Bhopal, marine and enviormental pollution, etc etc.

In short, there's good, but an awful lot of bad. As for the long term; the jury's still out.