The United States has one of the biggest economies in the world, yet spends only a small portion of its money on ending global poverty. As one of the most influential agenda-setters and biggest economic and military forces, the U.S. must accept its responsibility to the global project to reduce global poverty. There are several ways the U.S. is already tackling the issue, but it could certainly do more. These three specific methods are already in place, but need to be expanded upon in order to allow the U.S. to fulfill its potential in humanitarian aid. To play its role in reducing global poverty, the U.S. government must…
1. Pass bills.
Bills like the Electrify Africa Act and the Global Food Security Act are crucial to ending global poverty, and rely entirely on the U.S. people and government to be a success.
Take Electrify Africa for example. This bill would help provide electricity to 50 million people in Africa. This progress is essential for providing better security, health care and housing for families in need and is crucial for ending global poverty and inequality. The U.S. government is in an important role to make sure this step is taken. Luckily, the Electrify Africa Act has already seen huge success on the floor of the House of Representatives and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Now it moves into the Senate, where it has already been read and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. The U.S. government has a responsibility to pass bills like this one in order to work toward ending global poverty.
2. Give more funding to foreign aid.
When it comes to the amount given as foreign aid, the U.S. ranks 19th in the world. This is simply unacceptable. The U.S. has one of the most powerful economies, yet it ranks 11th of 22 major donors for quality of foreign aid. Only 1.5 percent of the federal budget goes toward international affairs, as compared to 23.6 percent on social security or 18.4 percent on defense spending.
In order to effectively end global poverty, the U.S. must increase their foreign aid, specifically by increasing the budget of the U.S. Agency on International Development (USAID), which oversees all international humanitarian efforts the U.S. is involved in. This money is used to assist developing nations by fighting endemic disease, providing emergency aid after natural disasters and implementing agricultural programs to increase food security. The more aid that goes to these projects, the more successful they can be in ending global poverty and treating its side effects.
3. Work with other governments and international organizations.
The U.S. does have domestic issues to worry about, and as a result, cannot logically put all its energy into fighting global poverty. But it can work with and support international organizations that do just that. In the recent past, USAID, which is the U.S. powerhouse for international assistance projects, has worked with UNICEF and other international aid organizations on programs that tackle issues like poor nutrition in African countries and social development in Nigeria. U.S. collaboration with international organizations through the USAID allows the U.S. to have a role in reducing global poverty. The U.S. government should facilitate more of this type of partnership between USAID and other international aid organizations in order to live up to its obligation to work toward reducing poverty around the world.
Foreign aid and humanitarian assistance are complicated issues when taken in the context of the entire U.S. government, but it is crucial that the U.S. does not forget its responsibility to ending world poverty and continue to work toward this goal. The U.S., as one of the world’s most powerful nations, has the ability to make a significant difference in the world on extreme poverty through several methods and it is our job to ensure that our government stays on track toward achieving this mission.
– Caitlin Thompson