Canada limits number of foreign aid recipients
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda told a press conference in Ottawa that Canada now will provide aid to about 20 countries, down from 25.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he wants to target more Canadian aid to countries in its own geographic backyard, namely in Latin America.
Bilateral aid programs account for just over half of Canada's overall assistance money, 53 percent, or roughly 1.5 billion Canadian dollars (1.2 billion U. S. dollars).
The other half of Canadian aid goes to international organizations, like the United Nations World Food Program, and to countries dealing with urgent crises like natural disasters.
While such countries as Rwanda, Cameroon and Kenya have been taken off the list, Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Sudan, and the West Bank/Gaza and Caribbean regions have been added.
Oda explained that Canada wants to have its contributions more focused and thus more effective.
"We're not abandoning any countries. What we're saying is we've selected 20 countries in which we will focus our programming," she said.
The Conservative government have said Canadian aid money has been sprinkled around too thinly, to too many places, and been ineffective.