by Jan Gerber, News24
US President Donald Trump wants to cut foreign assistance dollars to countries who don’t vote with the US at the United Nations (UN) – and South Africa is among these countries.
South Africa received about $258m (R3.2bn) in the 2017/18 year according to USAid. The vast majority of the funds are spent on health initiatives.
Every year the US state department compiles a report on voting practices at the UN. The report is then given to the US Congress. This report includes a comparison between the voting records of the US and other countries on UN General Assembly records.
The report was released last week and found that of the 93 resolutions that were voted on in 2017, on average other countries only voted with the US 31% of the time.
According to a statement from the US state department, this is a 10 percentage point drop from 2016 “but at a rate that is historically near average”.
“The American people pay 22% of the UN budget – more than the next three highest donor countries combined. In spite of this generosity, the rest of the UN voted with us only 31% of the time, a lower rate than in 2016,” said US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
Zimbabwe voted with US the least
“That’s because we care more about being right than popular and are once again standing up for our interests and values. Either way, this is not an acceptable return on our investment.
“When we arrived at the UN last year, we said we would be taking names, and this list of voting records speaks for itself. President Trump wants to ensure that our foreign assistance dollars – the most generous in the world – always serve American interests, and we look forward to helping him see that the American people are no longer taken for granted,” said Haley.
According to the report, the country that voted the most often with the US was Israel, while Zimbabwe was the country that voted with the US the least.
The 10 countries with the highest voting coincidence with the US were Israel, Micronesia, Canada, Marshall Islands, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Palau, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. The 10 countries with the lowest voting coincidence with the US were Zimbabwe, Burundi, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Bolivia and South Africa.
South Africa voted with the US on nine occasions and against it 68 times. Zimbabwe only voted with the US on six occasions and 69 times against.
According to USAid’s website: “USAid programmes strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises, create employment, improve learning and job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/Aids care, prevention and treatment” in South Africa.