USAID Awards $341 Mil in April, Including $24.5 Mil for Circumcisions in Swaziland
As April comes to an end Judicial Watch offers a sampling of some of the outrageous foreign causes that one agency alone dedicated hundreds of millions to, including $24.5 million for male circumcision in Swaziland and $71 million to improve child learning outcomes in Ghana.
Remember, this huge chunk of American taxpayer dollars was allocated in just one month by a single government agency, the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID). With a massive budget and little oversight, USAID is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance. That means big bucks go to all sorts of preposterous initiatives in countries that are unlikely to be a priority for Americans as they suffer through economic hardships and high unemployment at home.
The figures were obtained from a government website that serves as a centralized location for grant seekers applying for federal funding. Nonprofits and businesses can visit the site to see how much cash Uncle Sam is doling out each month for a variety of causes, both domestic and abroad. The numbers are downright alarming with USAID announcing that it’s doling out an astounding $341 million in just April. It’s an insane spending frenzy by an agency long plagued with fraud and corruption.
Let’s start with the two projects mentioned earlier in this piece. Americans will spend $24.5 million to circumcise as many males, ages 10-49 and infants, as possible in Swaziland because it can reduce the risk of contracting HIV, according to a USAID announcement. Located in South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland has the highest rates of HIV in the world, the agency says. The $71 million Ghana allocation is expected to improve the reading performance of approximately 2.8 million children in the West African nation. The funds will also enable a “more effective implementation of Ghana’s mother tongue bilingual instruction policy,” according to USAID’s grant announcement.
Now let’s consider some of the other April allocations. To support a cross-border health partnership in Kenya Uncle Sam is sending over $74 million to provide Africans with quality health services such as family planning and the prevention of communicable diseases like AIDS. U.S. taxpayers will also spend $38 million to support economic development in Pakistan, $35 million for health causes in Mali and $30 million for similar health-related projects in Uganda. Palestine’s health system will receive $10 million.
Sanitation programs in West Africa will benefit from a $15.8 million infusion and $9 million will go to “people to people” programs in the West Bank Gaza conflict. Improving media access and civil society in a former Soviet republic will cost American taxpayers $10.6 million and combating human trafficking in Bangladesh $4 million. A program that promises to create a “more robust civil society” in central Asia is getting $4.5 million and a similar initiative in Serbia will receive $1.6 million. There are many more enraging allocations that can be viewed on the government grant website listed above.
These are the kinds of programs USAID blows our money on. Just a few days ago Judicial Watch reported on the scandal involving the agency’s costly project to build post-earthquake housing in Haiti. For $55 million USAID was supposed to construct 4,000 houses outside Haiti’s capital by 2012, but only 816 have been completed even after the budget got increased to $90 million. A USAID Inspector General report outlined the boondoggle, revealing that the agency not only exceeded costs and deadlines, but also failed to provide adequate oversight of contractors doing the work.
Shortly before that scandal broke, a mainstream newspaper published a shameful exposé about USAID’s multi-billion-dollar program to treat malaria in Africa. A chunk of the malaria drugs provided to Africa by the U.S. are actually stolen each year and sold on the black market for a profit. In all, $60 million in malaria drugs are stolen each year, according to the article which cited inside government sources. USAID actually admits in the article that it has long known that malaria drugs financed by American taxpayers are regularly stolen in Africa.