The 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