By MARTIN GUTIERREZ, Reuters UNITED NATIONS – The United States on Tuesday will cut its funding for Africa by $2 billion, the World Bank said, the first time the U.S. has scaled back aid to a continent that has struggled with severe economic turmoil.
The U.N. body said the cuts would be phased in over the next two years, as the U:s administration seeks to focus on other issues such as the Ebola pandemic.
The United States and the other six major donors are among a handful of countries that have pledged to boost their aid to Africa’s poorest countries.
“The United Kingdom has pledged $1 billion in aid for Africa, which will now be reduced by $1.4 billion,” the World Development Report, a monthly report on the continent, said.
It said the U-S.
would also cut funding to the United Nations Children’s Fund and the African Union Development Fund by about $400 million each, and $1 million each from the World Trade Organization.
The World Bank also said that in 2017, it expected the United States to cut by about 30 percent its funding to countries in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
That would include the U.-S.
and the EU, as well as Canada, Mexico and Norway.
The budget cut comes amid increasing pressure from the White House and U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over the U .
S. administration’s handling of Ebola and other humanitarian crises.
The White House is pushing the U :s State Department to take a stronger stance against the U -S.
over its response to the pandemic, and Johnson has threatened to withdraw from the trade pact that the U, along with the European Union, signed in 2016.
In February, Johnson warned the Whitehouse against withdrawing from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, saying the pact would be a disaster for the world economy.
Johnson has also said the trade deal could result in job losses in Europe and a reduction in the size of the European economy.
U.S.-based environmental groups have criticized the U.’s trade stance as an unfair advantage for U.s businesses that are not the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
A new report by the World Resources Institute said that the United states trade deficit with Africa would rise to $50.3 billion in 2030 from $16.3 trillion in 2016 and is expected to reach $63.7 billion by 2030.
The report also said U. S. firms have increased their exports to Africa by a median of 13 percent since 2016.
That figure would rise if the trade agreement is not implemented, the WRI said.
The WRI also said there are over 8 million people living in extreme poverty in Africa.