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USAID Assistant Administrator Hess Travels to Southern Africa

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced that Michael E. Hess, assistant administrator of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, is traveling to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, and Madagascar from September 16-30. As part of his portfolio, Hess oversees the USAID offices of Food for Peace, the U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Democracy and Governance.

Hess's regional trip will focus on humanitarian and governance issues. In addition to meeting with U.S. officials and USAID partners in the region, Hess will meet with local government officials in South Africa, Lesotho, and Madagascar.

USAID has provided 225,000 metric tons of food assistance to southern Africa in Fiscal Year 2007, worth an estimated $214 million. This assistance has been primarily directed to Zimbabwe, which received over $170 million worth of food assistance. Other countries in the region receiving food assistance are Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. USAID distributes this food assistance free of charge through our partners the World Food Program and the NGO consortium C-SAFE.

In Fiscal Year 2007, USAID has provided more than $13.6 million to support humanitarian and disaster relief activities in southern Africa. The majority of these funds have gone toward agriculture and food security interventions in response to drought conditions. Zimbabwe is USAID's largest recipient of non-food humanitarian assistance in the region with a funding level of approximately $5.1 million. Madagascar and Lesotho received $2.5 million and $900,000 respectively, while Mozambique, Swaziland, Angola, and Zambia also receive assistance.

USAID democracy and governance programs are targeted at promoting and consolidating democracy worldwide. Expanding democracy improves individual opportunity for prosperity and improved well-being, thus contributing to development. Programs serve to establish and strengthen democratic institutions, free and open markets, inform and educate populace, promote a vibrant civil society, and a relationship between state and society that encourages pluralism, participation, and peaceful conflict resolution -- all of these contribute to the goal of establishing sustainable democracies.

For more information about USAID and its Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, please visit:

CONTACT: Public Information: 202-712-4810

SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development
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