Information and stories on foreign aid.

How the US Benefits From Foreign Aid to LesothoSituated wholly within the country of South Africa, the small country of Lesotho is a member of a very rare group of countries which exist completely within the borders of a separate state. Lesotho’s population is roughly 2 million, and its geography is mainly highland. At its $1,160 GDP per capita, it is classified as a lower- and middle-income country by the World Bank. While it may seem as though this African monarchy should not demand the foreign aid of large developed countries, due to its relatively small size (about the size of Maryland) and population, quite the opposite is true. Here is a look into how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Lesotho.

Economic

The U.S. is Lesotho’s largest trading partner with Lesotho sending 43.9 percent of its total exports to U.S. shores. Lesotho’s exports are mainly constituted of clothing (40 percent) and diamonds (22 percent).  Provided that these commodities are valued in the U.S., the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Lesotho because it will continue receiving exports at the current rate, which will likely grow given increasing development. Furthermore, Lesotho also gets 93 percent of its imports from South Africa. As Lesotho benefits from foreign aid, the market for South African goods increases. So investing in this small country could potentially benefit a much broader population in South Africa. With the U.S. being South Africa’s third largest import source, this could potentially increase as the prosperity of Lesotho grows.

Regional Security

Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has made global political stability a priority in its foreign policy. Like many decolonized nations, Lesotho has had much violence in its short existence. In 1966, Britain released its colonial rule on Lesotho, and the country was founded as a monarchy. However, in 1970, the country’s first Prime Minister Chief Leabua Jonathan suspended the constitution, exiled the king and ushered in a 23-year-period of authoritarian rule, complete with multiple coups and political repression. In the last five years, there have been armed clashes between the police force and the military. Unrest in Lesotho has involved South Africa in the past, and if Lesotho were to receive foreign aid, the benefits in political stability would also permeate South Africa.

Health

In Lesotho, 24.6 percent of the adult population (15-49 years old) is infected with HIV/AIDS, compared to an estimated 18 percent of adults in South Africa. This staggering percentage, nearly a quarter of the population, is the second highest prevalence of the disease in the world. Young people make up a sizeable portion of this population, along with 13 percent of young women and 6 percent of young men in the country being HIV positive.  The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Lesotho by achieving its goals for HIV/AIDS reduction and the improvement of global health. Lesotho is a key benefactor of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is a U.S. governmental global initiative for the reduction of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. PEPFAR would surely benefit by an increase in foreign aid funding.

Despite Lesotho’s small and landlocked status, it represents an area in which U.S. foreign aid can be utilized to help Lesotho’s people and benefit the economic, political and medical goals and interests of the United States.

– William Menchaca
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to TongaBy looking at Tonga and the United States on a map, it would seem the two countries share very little in common. However, despite their apparent differences, the U.S. and Tonga share a deep relationship and align closely with a number of important global issues.

U.S. and Tonga Relations

Evidence of this relationship is shown through U.S. foreign aid to Tonga, aid which directly and indirectly comes back to benefit the U.S. This aid takes various forms, including grants from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to help Tonga recover from natural disasters and grants from USAID to support climate proofing the vulnerable island country.

Tonga also receives Foreign Military Financing, providing the opportunity for Tongan officers to come to the U.S. for training and education, fostering a close relationship between U.S. and Tongan armed forces. The U.S. also provides $21 million per year to Pacific island countries, including Tonga, in accordance to the Tuna Fisheries Treaty, which gives U.S. fishing vessels access to Pacific island fisheries.

Economy

In purely economic terms, the benefit is relatively minimal. Although the U.S. is one of Tonga’s primary trade partners and runs a trade surplus with the island country, the surplus is only about $11 million annually. However, the trade surplus and role of the U.S. as a primary trading partner with Tonga does indicate that U.S. foreign aid to Tonga has played a part in establishing closer economic ties between the two countries.

Stability

The biggest way the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Tonga is stability, both in the Pacific region and the world. When foreign aid is injected into a country to help it recover from a disaster, or to help it become more self-sufficient, everybody wins. In such a case, foreign aid has a stabilizing effect, preventing large migrations, saving lives and helping to prevent future disasters. The result, besides the obvious humanitarian benefit and lives saved, is the stabilization of a volatile region and the fostering of a close ongoing relationship looking towards the future between the recipient and the donor of aid. In this case, the U.S. benefits greatly from a stable and closely aligned Tonga for various reasons. On one hand, friendly relations with Tonga and the U.S. allows for mutually beneficial cooperation between both countries, such as access to Tongan tuna fisheries by U.S. fishing vessels.

Friendly Relations

Friendly relations between the U.S. and Tonga, as facilitated by U.S. foreign aid to Tonga, also benefit the U.S. by giving it a close ally in the Pacific, a highly important geopolitical area. The importance of Tonga as a U.S. ally was recently reinforced during the RIMPAC military exercises in the Pacific. Among 26 nations to join the exercise, Tonga was the only country from the Pacific islands to participate. The inclusion of Tonga in such an important exercise indicates its importance to the U.S., while also demonstrating how U.S. foreign aid has brought the two nations together.

The most important takeaway from analyzing the relationship between the U.S. and Tonga is that foreign aid from the U.S. has been mutually beneficial. Because of U.S. support, Tonga has been able to recover faster from natural disasters and is working with the U.S. in preventing such disasters in the future. In return, the U.S. has gained a valuable ally in the Pacific.

– Taylor Pace
Photo: Flickr

Samoa aidA common misconception suggests that the United States has nothing to gain from providing aid to other countries. Some people might support the international affairs budget out of a desire to help save humanity, but there is more to providing foreign aid than that. For example, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Samoa when it helps increase exports and prevents damage to the island caused by natural disasters. The funding that goes towards programs overseas is not a one-time donation. Samoa will be given the tools necessary to build a self-reliable community and in turn, Samoa’s improved contribution to the global market promotes economic growth in the United States, too.

Samoa has repeatedly been victim to natural disasters that have stunted its economic growth. Tsunamis can destroy crops and natural resources, negatively impacting Samoa’s involvement with foreign trade. Since it is part of the Asia Pacific region, which has experienced significant economic growth, the destruction of Samoa’s natural resources interferes with export shipments going to the United States.

An estimated $180 billion in damages and lost resources occurs every year due to natural disasters. Within the past 20 years, $93.2 billion was spent on relief while only $13.5 billion was put towards disaster prevention. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Samoa by minimizing damage to the environment and saving potential exports.

To combat tsunamis and the rising sea levels, USAID encourages communication among countries in the Asia Pacific region with the use of the Pacific Disaster Center’s warning system. It compiles information from weather radars to notify Samoa when storms are headed in its direction. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community helps protect agriculture, while USAID lets stakeholders know when there is a particularly strong harvest.

In recent years, the Strategy for the Development of Samoa (SDS) announced plans to help preserve natural resources and vulnerable species. This includes replanting trees that bear fruit and restoring marine ecosystems. So far, USAID has dedicated $96 million to the entire Asia Pacific region.

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Samoa because it depends on Samoa’s agricultural and fishing industries. These are also two of the largest sources of income within Samoa. When help focuses on protecting crops and fisheries, Samoa increases its ability to participate in the global market.

Foodstuffs make up 40 percent of what the U.S. imports from Samoa, and nearly a quarter comes from its fish. In total, $6.76 million worth of product is sent to the United States. In addition to helping Samoa’s environmental plans, the SDS seeks to grow the country’s economic involvement through boosting productivity in the business sector. This will have a positive impact on trading with the United States.

Many other goals outlined in the SDS are designed to help Samoa and the countries that do business with it. Farmers are receiving materials to improve their harvests and hopefully reach a 20 percent increase in crops grown within Samoa.

Higher employment rates in the businesses that produce exports are predicted to help the agricultural and fishing industries. Also, financial services are looking to improve the performance of small business owners. Samoa can maximize the number of resources saved from natural disasters when all companies follow the correct protocol in the event of an emergency.

Foreign aid is an investment. The United States’ efforts to promote a thriving economy in Samoa will be returned in the form of better trade opportunities. Natural disasters and low production rates affect more than just Samoa. Thus, it is in the interest of other countries, such as the United States, to provide foreign aid to Samoa.

Sabrina Dubbert

Photo: Flickr

A Timeline of President Trump's Foreign Aid PolicyPresident Donald Trump ran his presidential campaign with promises to put “America First” and prioritize the problems in the United States before concerning himself with the issues in other countries. Thus far, over a year into his presidency, President Trump’s administration has materialized campaign promises into actions, which they believe work towards achieving their goal of “Making America Great Again.” On multiple occasions, these actions have threatened the security and influence of U.S. foreign aid and development assistance.

The Administration has taken steps to reduce the size and scale of aid programs like The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and has also threatened to withhold aid to long-term recipient countries. Countries that receive U.S. aid use the resources they’ve been given for a wide number of projects, but the majority of them focus on poverty-alleviation efforts and development assistance. There are still at least two years left in the Presidency of Donald Trump, but here is a recap of major decisions regarding President Trump’s foreign aid policy during the first half of his administration.

2017

May 10, 2017– President Trump nominates Mark Green as the new USAID administrator. Mark Green received bipartisan support in his nomination as he has often sought to foster bipartisan approaches to U.S. foreign assistance. Green served as the former US Ambassador to Tanzania, and before that, he was acting president of The International Republican Institute.  

May 23, 2017– The White House released its 2018 budget proposal: “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The budget put forth by The Trump Administration requested a 33 percent reduction in funding for The State Department and USAID. The budget proposal also intimated plans to merge The State Department and USAID in order to “pursue greater efficiencies through reorganization and consolidation.”

October 2017– There were 97 applicants, already in the pre-employment process with USAID, who were denied foreign placement due to a hiring freeze imposed on the program by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson defended the hiring freeze arguing that it helped, “increase efficiency.”

Dec 20, 2017– President Trump threatened to cut off U.S. aid to any member of The U.N. General Assembly who votes for a resolution condemning his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump delivered his threat at a cabinet meeting following a letter sent to the U.N. General Assembly by U.S. Ambassador to The United Nations Nikki R. Haley, in which she warned that the U.S. would note the countries who voted for the resolution. Regardless of the threats made by President Trump, a large number of countries in The U.N. General Assembly still voted not to pursue diplomatic missions in the city of Jerusalem in order to avoid exacerbating existing conflicts between Israel and Palestine. 

2018

Jan 2018– The Trump Administration announced its plans to withhold the majority of U.S. aid to Pakistan. The White House cited the Pakistani government’s unwillingness to aggressively confront international terrorists and militant groups in their region as the reason behind the withholding of aid.

Jan 2018– President Trump ordered some $65 million to be withheld from The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA provides humanitarian and development assistance to Palestinian refugees. The President ordered the withholding of funds noting concerns over how the organization was run.

Feb 12, 2018– The White House released its 2019 budget proposal: “An American Budget.” The proposal furthers it’s 2017 stance on The State Department and USAID requesting a 26 percent reduction of funds for the programs. The budget revealed a continuing trend in President Trump’s foreign policy to shrink the size of The State Department.

Each new president has their own understanding of the role that foreign aid plays in the advancement of American interests in the international community. President Trump’s foreign aid policy has revealed to America his hesitation to support the distribution of American resources to developing/emerging international markets. The President has emphasized his opinion that more efficient work can be done to improve America by investing more in domestic relief projects and less in international ones.

– Clarke Hallum
Photo: Flickr

US Benefits from Foreign Aid to MauritaniaNestled between Senegal, Mali, and Western Sahara, Mauritania is a mostly desert country. The population is roughly 4.3 million people, making Mauritania the fourth least densely populated country in Africa. Half the population lives at or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott. The country faces the challenge that only 0.5 percent of its land is measured as arable. It suffers an extremely hot and dry climate, leading to dust-laden wind and occasional droughts.

The History of U.S.-Mauritania Relations

The U.S. was the first country to recognize Mauritania’s independence when it became independent from France in 1960. The U.S. had excellent relations with Mauritania from 1960 to 1967 and aided the country with a small amount of economic assistance. In 1989, U.S.-Mauritanian relations were disturbed by the Mauritanian governments expulsion of Senegalese citizens. Ties were further deteriorated by Mauritania’s supposed support of the 1991 Gulf War.

At the end of the 1990s, the Mauritania government began to adopt new policies, which were higher regarded by the U.S. As a result, U.S.-Mauritanian relations grew significantly, and military cooperation and training programs soon followed.

The U.S. condemned Mauritania’s military coups in 2005 and 2008. However, the U.S. supported the nations transition to democracy after the coup d’état in 2005. Furthermore, the U.S. assisted in election-related business, such as voter education and election support in 2007.

Since 2009, funding has returned to Mauritania. The U.S. continues to support the Mauritania government and to encourage political leaders to continue democracy. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Mauritania because of key issues the nations fight for together: food security, counterterrorism, strengthening of human rights, and the promotion of trade. This is most evident through the growth of trade and counterterrorism movements.

Trade Growth

Although it is slow, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Mauritania by growing trade and investment relations within this country. The two countries are linked through the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), a regional public-private partnership that improves the network of businesspersons in the U.S. with the five Magherb countries, including Mauritania.

Counterterrorism

Mauritania is among five other nations (G5) that work with the Multinational Joint Task Force to end terrorism. They are an important member in creating African-led solutions to counter instability and terrorism. The G5, Mauritanian authorities, and the U.N. have worked closely together to implement solutions of counterterrorism. The representatives set out plans that aim to:

  1. Increase education
  2. Support the role of women in reforming security
  3. Bettering investigative abilities
  4. Reintegrating previous offenders
  5. Strengthening border security

In October 2017, the U.S. government pledged up to $60 million toward the G5’s counterterrorism initiatives. The funding was to be used to train and equip members of the Joint Task Force. The goal of this funding is to entrust nations, like Mauritania, to provide their own safety.

Terrorist organizations are still active in this region and had launched a series of attacks through Mauritanian from 2005 to 2011. Foreign aid workers and tourists were targeted during this time. Although the threat of terrorism in Mauritania remains high, it is on its way toward improvement because of the counterterrorism actions being taken in 2017, made possible by foreign aid.

– Stefanie Babb
Photo: Flickr

10 MCC Transparency MeasuresCreated by the U.S. Congress in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency. The agency has strong bipartisan support and helped revolutionize how the U.S. delivers foreign assistance.

MCC works by giving out time-limited grants to partnering countries, which broadly go toward “promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, and strengthening institutions.” But for each of its compacts and programs, MCC specifically reports what is being spent where, by whom and with what results. In other words, MCC is dedicated to transparency.

10 Ways MCC Maintains Transparency

  1. Maintaining an easy-to-use and up-to-date website: An easy-to-use website makes it easier for the public or other agencies to navigate the site. An up-to-date website ensures that people are accessing and consuming new and relevant data.
  2. Expanding the Evaluation Catalogue: The Evaluation Catalogue shares studies, evaluations and data sets in a searchable database that is open for public consumption. MCC is working to increase the efficiency of the accompanying approval process and release information to the catalogue more quickly.
  3. Releasing Principles into Practice: Principles into Practice is a long-running series of reports in which MCC discusses in detail how it implements its core model and operation policies. These reports include frank discussions of failures and lessons MCC has learned. The agency also has an edition dedicated to MCC transparency.
  4. Using sub-national data and geo-coding: Gathering more detailed and location-specific data provides a better picture of MCC’s spending and results. Location-specific data can also help MCC compare data from different areas and increase its efficiency.
  5. Upgrading information management systems: Updated information management systems help MCC improve the accessibility and usability of its data internally and in partner countries. MCC also funds an analytics team to standardize and deliver data to staff for internal analysis.
  6. Having a Data Governance Board: MCC recently created its Data Governance Board, an independent group made up of representatives from throughout the agency. The Board’s purpose is to streamline MCC’s data management approach and promote data-driven decision making across the agency’s investment portfolio.
  7. Ensuring data consistency: MCC pulls all of its data sets from the same base data, ensuring consistency across data sets. Consistency allows MCC and anyone else to compare data sets without having to control for differences in collection or calculation.
  8. Adding new data and information fields: MCC has expanded its data fields relating to results, and the agency gets higher marks from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) for performance data than any other agency. MCC has also expanded its information to include conditions associated with MCC funds. MCC is very invested in data collection and uses it to inform program development processes, such as pricing data.
  9. Working with implementing organizations to compile data: Like most U.S. aid agencies, MCC’s programs provide funds for projects that are implemented on the ground by partner organizations. MCC works directly with those implementing its projects to collect and publish data.
  10. Reporting directly to IATI: Like other U.S. aid agencies, MCC used to report its data through the Department of State. Now, MCC reports directly to IATI, giving MCC greater control over what, how and when they publish.

ATI and MCC Transparency

Transparent aid is especially important to donor and recipient governments. For example, MCC transparency ensures that it and other donors avoid duplicating efforts in some areas and under-funding in others. Recipient governments also need to know what aid is invested in their countries to coordinate their own budgets with incoming aid and make the most effective use of their limited money.

MCC began participating in the Aid Transparency Index (ATI) in 2013 and was actually ranked the most transparent agency in the world its first year. Rankings consistently change between years, and while MCC has not remained number one, the agency is consistently among the top five transparent agencies in the world.

MCC was once again ranked as the most transparent agency in the U.S. Government for 2018. Ranked fifth overall in the world, MCC is one of only seven agencies in the top “Very Good” category. Transparency is essential for aid effectiveness and accountability, and MCC’s ranking shows that the agency is committed to disclosing detailed material about its activities.

– Kathryn Quelle
Photo: Flickr

Irish Foreign Aid
Irish foreign aid is distributed by Irish Aid, a program within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The main focus of Irish Aid is to reduce hunger and improve resilience. This means that Irish Aid focuses on developing economic growth, improving governance and holding governments accountable for human rights. Much of their work and funding is focused in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ireland and the UN

During the United Nations negotiations to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were to feature in the United Nations program “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Ireland worked alongside Kenya to facilitate intergovernmental negotiations in 2014 and by mid-2015 the negotiations were complete.

This is an important milestone for Irish foreign aid. Ireland has yet to meet the United Nation’s standard of .7 percent of a nation’s gross national income (GNI) for foreign aid; the nation currently only spends .33 percent. Although Irish foreign aid spending is not at expected United Nation levels, it is still effective.

Impact of Irish Aid

Like many other nations and their foreign aid agencies, Irish Aid uses a grant system to make use of its allocated money. In 2012, Irish Aid granted 100 million euros to the organization Concern Worldwide. Irish Aid and Concern Worldwide have been partners ever since.

A similar partnership was struck again in 2017, and the grant money would be used to fund programs all across Africa in 17 different countries. Irish Aid and Concern Worldwide are working together on the Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) project, amongst others.

Concern Worldwide

According to Concern Worldwide, nearly 45 percent of children in Zambia are undernourished, which can lead to health difficulties later in life and hinder a child’s performance in school.

Concern Worldwide works to combat this deficiency by bringing together both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. This cooperation will help the government learn how to effectively manage this issue. Concern Worldwide also provides advanced training for farmers, including improved techniques to increase crop yield and preserve the environment.

Educational Efforts

Education is another important area for Irish foreign aid. On the Irish Aid website, stories can be found about individuals, individual programs and their respective successes. In the realm of education, one young Ugandan man is an exceptional success story. Munyes Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Business studies with education in a country where nearly 4 out of 5 adults cannot read or write.

Although his parents worked incredibly hard, they were unable to afford to send him to secondary school, let alone college. However, Munyes was able to go to college due to Irish Aid; after graduating, he now works as a community facilitator in Uganda. Munyes is a great example of how investment in people can turn out to be one of the best investments a nation, organization or person can make. Money was spent on one person, and that person can go on to help hundreds of people.

One Step At a Time

Although Irish Aid is changing peoples’ lives all over the world, it can still do better. Better funding and direction from their government can go a long way.

Although Ireland’s government does not yet have a plan to reach the target of .07 percent, credit should still be given to the nation. Ireland was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis but continued to do its part to help around the world. Hopefully, as the Irish economy continues to grow, its government will begin to form a coherent strategy for improving its foreign aid efforts.

As with any important issue, the best change will happen when a government is called higher by its people and its media (specifically The Irish Times). With concentrated efforts reflective of populations near and abroad, Ireland can only do good.

– Nick DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Azerbaijan
Since its formation in 1992, Azerbaijan has had positive diplomatic relations with the United States. The U.S. has affirmed its commitment to strengthening democracy in the region, as well as diversifying the economy and promoting regional stability. In 2017, the United States’ government gave $15.31 million in foreign assistance to Azerbaijan.

Over $4 million of that contribution went towards democracy, human rights and governance agendas. Another $3.63 million went towards economic development. Here are the four major ways in which the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Azerbaijan.

Positive U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations Support American Jobs

Azerbaijan purchases American services. In 2010, Azerbaijan signed a $1 billion contract purchasing eight civilian airplanes from the American Boeing company; this contract supported 11,000 American jobs.

That same year, seeking to create its first communication satellite, Azerbaijan signed another contract with the Orbital Sciences Corporation in Virginia. The $205.3 million contract created 1,500 American jobs.

U.S. Companies’ Substantial Stakes in Azerbaijan Economy

Azerbaijan has welcomed U.S. investment in its economy. The Law on Protection of Foreign Investments allows for foreigners to directly invest in any activity of the Azerbaijan economy in which a national investor may also invest.

U.S. companies quickly capitalized on this opportunity. Many have long-standing investments in offshore oil development projects; however, experts predict a decline in this industry.

As a result, several U.S. companies are investing in other fields of the Azerbaijan economy such as agriculture, telecommunications, tourism and transportation services. The U.S. also regularly exports aircraft and heavy machinery to the region.

Azerbaijan: Useful Ally in Combating Terrorism

Azerbaijan has a confirmed commitment to combating terrorism. The country is a member of several international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. The collaborative work of Azerbaijan’s State Security Forces and the Foreign Intelligence Service have made sizeable contributions to the international community’s efforts to combat terrorism.

Furthermore, as a member of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), Azerbaijan has also taken steps to deter money laundering schemes that could finance terrorism.

Given this commitment, positive relations with Azerbaijan could help advance U.S. security goals in the region.

Successful Market Democracy Could Provide a Model for the Region

The primary objective of USAID contributions in Azerbaijan is “to support Azerbaijan’s reform processes by promoting competition and pluralism in the society, laying the foundations for a sustainable market-based democracy.”

As a Muslim-majority country with a history of religious tolerance, Azerbaijan could be a model for countries in the region. Azerbaijan shares a border with both Russia and Iran. If Azerbaijan can successfully become a market economy, perhaps it can provide a model for similar countries in the region.

How the U.S. Benefits From Foreign Aid To Azerbaijan

By providing aid to the Azerbaijan people, the United States is ensuring the continued economic and security cooperation with a proven ally. Though often overlooked by popular U.S. media, Azerbaijan’s development has a notable effect on the American people.

– Joanna Dooley
Photo: Flickr

How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to TajikistanTajikistan is a small, little-known country in Central Asia. In comparison to the behemoth of the U.S., Tajikistan seems irrelevant. However, the country’s location — nestled between Afghanistan, China and Uzbekistan —  makes it a crucial player in maintaining stability in that region. This role can work to benefit the U.S. and the world as a whole.  

How the U.S. Benefits From Foreign Aid to Tajikistan

Most American citizens know about the United States’ involvement in aid to Afghanistan, but little know the role Tajikistan plays in return. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Tajikistan through initiatives like the Cross-Border Transport Accord (CBTA), which are part of a U.S.-supported project coined the ‘New Silk Road.’ The CBTA promotes trade relationships between Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan in order to create more prosperous economies.

The U.S. has also provided $15 million to the region to support another project called the CASA-1000 electricity grid. This project would allow Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to transfer hydropower electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The U.S. provides this money to promote a healthy Central Asian economy that would, in turn, lead to more political stability in the region.

The New Silk Road

The New Silk Road initiative includes plans to construct roads, railways, electric grids and pipelines between resource-rich countries in the Central Asia region. The project would promote the flow of these resources between countries, creating a more prosperous situation for all involved.

Tajikistan and other countries in the region have a history of withholding resources from one another in order to advance their political interests. Programs that would allow a mutually-beneficial flow of resources between countries could dampen political rivalries and mitigate conflict.

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Tajikistan because it is an investment in future peace. A sharing program of resources has the potential to significantly decrease conflict in the region. Such an impact would prevent the need for a possible military intervention by the U.S. in the future.

National Improvements

Along with an increased flow of resources to Tajikistan would come more jobs, better education and healthcare systems. An electricity grid would provide electricity to thousands of homes. The CASA-1000 plan began construction in 2016 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Not only does the U.S. benefit from foreign aid to Tajikistan, the people of Tajikistan along with the people in surrounding countries prosper from the relationship as well. Projects like electricity grids have provided energy to remote regions in countries like Afghanistan that would not have had it otherwise.

The Ripple Effect

Since 2006, the U.S. has provided $155 million in aid to Tajikistan that has gone to infrastructure and training. The U.S. has also been instrumental in the New Silk Road project.

The United States’ foreign aid relationship with Tajikistan is emblematic of the ripple effect foreign aid can have. Providing Tajikistan with financial support bolsters the entire Central Asia region by promoting political stability and alleviating poverty through a boosted economy.

– Amelia Merchant
Photo: Flickr

US Benefits from Foreign Aid to MoldovaThe U.S. government has invested over 1 billion dollars in Moldova since 1992 through various foreign aid assistance programs. In times where many Americans think that the government should concentrate on domestic aid, it is important that they should be informed about how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Moldova. So, how is the aid America invests in Moldova promoting American interest?

The Economic Benefits

Foreign aid is often characterized as an investment because it typically brings a return for the American people. This is especially true in the case of American businesses. In Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, the logic of foreign aid applies perfectly.

The stated goal of U.S. foreign aid to Moldova is to “target assistance at the country’s most promising economic sectors; which will help create economic opportunities that will raise incomes, promote job growth, and improve living standards.” By improving the economy and living standards, the foreign aid investments will then create a new market for American goods, demonstrating the mutual benefit for Moldova and the United States.

When the U.S. government provides aid for an impoverished country, the country’s economy improves, and typically so do the lives of its people. With this improved quality of life, citizens of the country are transformed from targets of charity to consumers with purchasing power. Instead of barely surviving, they become productive members of society, which results in new markets for U.S. companies. Not only does this create more potential customers for U.S. companies, but the increased demand for American made goods can create jobs in the U.S. to create these goods.

USAid in Moldova

USAID, America’s primary foreign aid agency, plays an important role in connecting American businesses directly with these new consumers in developing markets. USAID accomplishes this by encouraging American companies to partner with local people to help educate and support them on projects in local areas.

The result is the creation of a mutually beneficial relationship, whereby the target of the aid becomes self-reliant and also aligned with U.S. companies. In this way, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Moldova as well as Moldova itself.

Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy in Moldova implements programs such as The Cultural/English-Language Small Grants Program, to use education and cultural exchange to help foster mutual understanding between the United States and Moldova. It is the hope that this mutual understanding will lay the foundation for further economic, cultural, and political cooperation between the two countries.

National and International Security

Another common argument in favor of foreign aid is that this assistance helps stabilize vulnerable countries. This lowers the probability of future conflict and, as a result, keeps Americans safe. Syria is the most evident example of what can happen when a country becomes unstable. After the country experienced a drought in 2007, the resulting destabilization and actions by a repressive regime created the terrible crisis we see today.

This is the very reason that the U.S. foreign aid to Moldova targets economic growth in Moldova’s unstable agricultural industry as well as the consolidation of democratic institutions. If there were a slowdown in Moldova’s agricultural industry, which accounts for approximately 17 percent of its GDP, or a crackdown on democracy, the resulting destabilization could be problematic, especially given Moldova’s proximity to Russia.

Therefore, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Moldova by helping to minimize the risk of breakdowns in the critical areas of Moldovan society, which helps ensure stability, economic opportunity and pro-American sentiment in an otherwise vulnerable country.

– Taylor Pace

Photo: Flickr