South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said the country has allocated 476 million rand (USD63 million) as development assistance to selected African countries in 2009, cementing the country’s role as one of the leading donors in the continent.
Zimbabwe received 300 million rand – the largest aid package South Africa has allocated – for emergency food relief and assistance for agricultural initiatives. Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar are other beneficiaries.
Aid is channeled through the African Renaissance Fund and targeted toward stabilizing poor economies in the region as well as decreasing the number of job-seeking migrants entering South Africa. The fund was established 10 years ago as a replacement for the 1968 Economic Cooperation Promotion Loan Fund Act.
Francis Ikome, director of the Institute for Global Dialogue Africa Program, said that South Africa has an obligation to assist poorer African countries because of its “economic hegemony” in the region, Business Day reports.
“This unfortunately is an unavoidable price that any state that aspires to a leadership role must pay,” Ikome said.