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COVID-19 response
While the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to come under control, many countries around the world have taken steps to economic recovery. African nations in particular, although prone to severe economic impacts, have shown significant progress in their COVID-19 response. According to the World Bank’s October 2020 Africa’s Pulse issue, GDP growth projections in all regions of Africa are positive for 2021 and 2022 following GDP growth decrease in 2020. This article highlights three countries that are demonstrating optimistic economic growth after COVID-19.

Rwanda

COVID-19 Response Measures: Rwanda has received recognition for its efforts to contain initial outbreaks. This is likely due to the country’s aggressive measures combining public health mandates and innovative utilization of technologies. What separates Rwanda’s response is its reliance on scientific guidance and a high-tech approach to health and social service policies. For example, treatment centers are using human-sized robots for temperature checks and supply deliveries. National enforcement also deployed drones to monitor and ensure compliance with lockdown measures.

Fiscal Policy: The December 2020 update on fiscal policy in Rwanda includes $314 million in economic stimulus, corporate tax exemptions and subsidies, cash transfers to citizens (unemployment benefits) and food assistance. Rwanda’s financial capacity proved beyond national resources but international support was able to expand it. UNDP Rwanda and the World Bank are currently working closely with the Rwanda Ministry of Finance to discern how much the COVID-19 response plan will need for operation.

Monetary Policy: The National Bank of Rwanda reduced the policy interest rate to 4.5%. It has further plans to establish liquidity and digital payment support measures. In Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank classifies Rwanda as the only country established in the Growth Taxonomy in sub-Saharan Africa. The taxonomy compares pre-pandemic performance to mid-pandemic growth. Expectations have determined that Rwanda will achieve the highest post-pandemic recovery with a GDP growth of 7%. With economic drivers like vaccine campaigns and investment and trade boosts, countries like Rwanda and Tanzania expect GDP increases. East Africa in general is expected to reach 5.1% GDP growth as opposed to the continental average at 3.2%.

Kenya

COVID-19 Response Measures: Kenya adopted many of the common direct response measures, such as a widespread lockdown. Additionally, the U.N. praised Kenya’s maintenance of well-equipped emergency treatment hospitals to best accommodate not only Kenyan patients but also U.N. personnel and partners. Kenya’s hospitals can also potentially play an important role in regional humanitarian development.

Fiscal Policy: Kenya announced a $534 million economic stimulus, a $377 million COVID-19 health expenditure, corporate tax exemptions and subsidies, cash transfers to citizens and food assistance. Like other African countries, Kenya is receiving financial assistance from major international entities such as the World Bank and the E.U. With 86 different donors, Kenya received Ksh 194,663,072,350 ($177,3769,915.25) for COVID-19 response plans.

Monetary Policy: The Central Bank of Kenya reduced the policy interest rate to 7% and planned liquidity support measures. Additionally, the government launched the National Hygiene Program (Kazi Mtaani) to reduce pandemic-induced unemployment. It offers employment with daily wages to the hardest-hit communities. Jobs include street cleaning, garbage collection and disinfection. Kenya’s trade activities also indicate promising economic recovery. According to the World Bank’s Africa’s Pulse, Kenyan exports have already recovered rapidly and have surpassed pre-pandemic highs.

Senegal

COVID-19 Response Measures: The World Bank highlighted Senegal as demonstrating a successful health response to COVID-19. Swift responses were key, particularly in regards to test capacity, quarantine facilities and ventilators. Preventative measures also included temperature checks and hand sanitizer distribution. By September 2020, 80% of confirmed cases had recovered.

Fiscal Policy: Senegal has an $801 million economic stimulus, a $130 million COVID-19 health expenditure, corporate tax exemptions and subsidies, cash transfers to citizens and food assistance. Some participating entities for Senegal’s financing include the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. For instance, AfDB contributed €88 million to support Senegal’s measures to provide relief to vulnerable households, businesses and job security initiatives.

Monetary Policy: Senegal’s monetary policy is in collaboration with other West African countries, including Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Togo. These countries work with the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which has made FCFA 4.750 billion ($8,383,750) available to banks and has reduced policy interest rates to 4%. In Africa’s Pulse Growth Taxonomy, Senegal is one of five countries in the top tercile of growth performers. It has a classification of “improved.” Improved GDP growth can indicate the first signs of economic recovery.

The Road to Recovery

As a result of early preventative policy measures, fiscal and monetary policies, international financing and trade initiatives, many African countries have paved a road to post-pandemic recovery. Rwanda, Kenya and Senegal are merely three of the African countries benefiting from smart policy measures and quick COVID-19 responses. In many cases, these countries are experiencing even higher levels of growth than they did before the pandemic. The steps that these countries and others took can serve as a model for how to navigate the economic hurdles of a global pandemic.

– Malala Raharisoa Lin
Photo: Flickr

Sweden’s Success: The Country with No LockdownWhen COVID-19 struck the world, Sweden did not close its borders. Instead, they opted to follow the standard health and safety guidelines. Although stores, schools and businesses remained open and masks hardly worn, many Swedes still stayed at home. Sweden now hovers a little over 100,000 total cases with outbreaks that have occurred in the early year, a thousand deaths in nursing homes and losing 7% of inhabitants. There are many reasons for Sweden’s success. This is due to lower population density, social distance guidelines being adhered to and early testing. Even with these positive things, the death toll still darkens an otherwise phosphorescent experiment.

Poverty and COVID-19

Unsurprisingly, poverty is correlated with higher Covid-19 mortality. One Swedish study claimed that low-income, low-education, unmarried and immigrant males have a higher risk of death from COVID-19. Men in the first and second tertiles of disposable income are five times as likely to die. They also experience 80% higher mortality, than those in the top tertile. This holds true for immigrants from low and middle-income countries, who have a 2.5 times higher mortality among men, and 1.5 times among women, compared to those born in Sweden. Immigrants are more than twice as likely to die than natives.

Therefore, income inequality and child poverty have increased, according to poverty expert Radda Barnen from Save the Children. Around 10%, 186,000 children, live in poverty in Sweden. In his charity work among the poor, Barnen claims that poverty has only worsened their living conditions. This is especially for the undocumented migrants, who share hostels, resulting in cramped, rapidly spreadable sickness. It is commonly stated that COVID-19 does not discriminate, but in light of this research, this is untrue. The virus does discriminate. Those most vulnerable have the worst chance.

Aids

In terms of aid, Sweden has provided fiscal measures to its citizens. For example, SEK 264 million have been allotted toward recovery. In addition, SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, has provided SEK 1.25 billion for virus aid. SIDA also aided farmers to continue making a living, since most regions rely on trade. Through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) program Rural Poor Stimulus, SIDA has given SEK 30 million for this year, and 20 million next year.

Other countries both admired and criticized Sweden’s approach to COVID-19. Sweden may have passed Denmark, Norway and Finland on the death toll. However, Sweden’s success can be seen in the mortality remains lower than in the UK, Spain and Belgium. Even with a lockdown, the elderly in care homes still suffer, experts have observed. A lockdown does not decrease mortality from the virus, which is plain when comparing the UK’s experience with that of other European countries.

Shelby Gruber

Photo: Flickr

How Indigenous Australians’ COVID-19 Response Averted DisasterWhen the COVID-19 pandemic reached Australia, Indigenous Australians looked poised to be disproportionately affected. They statistically suffer from higher rates of known COVID-19 risk factors, such as obesity. In fact, 15.6% of Indigenous Australians have three or more chronic diseases. On top of physical risk factors, higher rates of poverty and underdeveloped health care, especially in rural areas, meant that if COVID-19 spread to many indigenous communities, the infrastructure was insufficient to combat it. Yet, COVID-19 rates for Indigenous peoples remain far below Australia’s national average. Learning from past mistakes, national health officials deferred to Indigenous leaders. The leaders made sure Indigenous Australians’ COVID-19 response was actually tailored to their own communities.

H1N1

In 2009, the H1N1 virus, known as the swine flu, hit Indigenous communities hard. Indigenous Australians, who include both Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, constitute 2.5% of Australia’s population. However, they made up 11% of swine flu cases. Additionally, they suffered from a death rate six times higher than the national average. The health gap between white and Indigenous people in Australia has long been a problem. The government launched the “Close the Gap campaign” in 2007.  This campaign aims to bring the average lifespan of Indigenous peoples up to par with that of white Australians (71.6 and 75.6 years for Indigenous men and women compared to 80.2 and 83.4 years). The H1N1 virus clearly illustrated how large the healthcare gap really is. As of 2020, the campaign is not on the schedule to bridge this gap by its target date of 2031.

Community Leadership

What has been lacking in the unsuccessful efforts to strengthen healthcare for indigenous Australians is sufficient input from Indigenous leaders. As the lead economist at the Australia Institute Richard Denniss put it, “It is far more effective from an economic point of view to give Indigenous Australians the power to take control of the policies that affect them.” In addition to training sufficient medical personnel in rural areas, programming was key to informing communities about the dangers of COVID-19 and the necessary precautions to stop it. Indigenous Australians’ COVID-19 response stood to be most effective when led by Indigenous Australians. The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia shared videos on social media about the importance of health check-ups and social distancing. The videos use Indigenous people and Aboriginal Australian English. The Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service regularly broadcasts COVID-19 information using Aboriginal radio stations that reach remote and rural communities.

Results

While programming may seem trivial compared to actual testing and medical infrastructure, Indigenous Australians currently have COVID-19 at a rate six times lower than non-indigenous Australians. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group reported 146 cases in the indigenous community. Of these, only about 25% were in rural communities. Some remote aboriginal communities, such as Yakunytjatjara Lands in Queensland, closed their borders at the beginning of the pandemic. Due to these measures, Indigenous Australians’ COVID-19 response has largely been successful at keeping the virus at bay from remote communities where medical infrastructure is especially scarce.

Indigenous Australians have defied expectations largely through community tailored information and, in rural communities, exercising their sovereignty. As Indigenous populations worldwide struggle with COVID-19, Indigenous Australian’s COVID-19 response is a positive example to emulate.

Adam Jancsek
Photo: Flickr

Tanzanian GovernmentOn October 23, 2020, Senator Mendez issued S. Res. 756, urging the Tanzanian Government to protect democracy in the wake of its upcoming election. The text outlines multiple infringements on the media since President John Magulifi was elected for the first time in 2015. Repressive laws such as the Media Services Act of 2016 and the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations Act of 2020 have curbed expression in the country.

Such laws have translated into multiple arrests and penalizations for journalists and bloggers who publish information deemed “biased” by the Ministry of Information. Headlines were made last year when two independent journalists, Erick Kabendera and Joseph Gandye, were arrested after opening reports into corruption in the government.

Tanzanian Government’s Coronavirus Response

The repression of free speech has become even more alarming during the pandemic. “Access to information is an essential part of the fight against COVID-19, yet the Tanzanian government is choosing to censor journalists and media outlets who report on the disease,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

According to the World Health Organization, the Tanzanian Government has not reported a single case of Coronavirus since April. North Korea is the only other country that has not provided data. Back in June, the President spoke of the power of prayer in eliminating the virus at a Church Service. “Corona in our country has been removed by the powers of God,” said Magufuli. Since the beginning of the virus, the President has fired health officials who issued warnings, suggested against the use of masks. Furthermore, he has supported an unproven herbal drink from Madagascar as a cure. The International community was quick to criticize the Tanzanian Government for denying the spread of the virus.

In July, journalist Ruud Elmendorp reported from inside the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Elmendorp spoke with multiple locals who believed that there was no virus in Tanzania. He even visited graveyards, surprised to see there was no surge of activity for new gravesites. According to Elmendorp, the city was conducting business as usual. “The shops are open, there are street markets and there are men seated on the street having their conversations. There are the people with sewing machines, the street food kiosks, all connected by the hooting of passing cars and tuk-tuks,” Elmendorp reported.

Magufuli Re-Elected

A week after Senator Mendez issued S.Res. 756, President Magulifi was re-elected with a landslide vote of 84% in his favor. His opponent, Tundu Lissu, said his party’s agents were prevented from entering polling stations. The United States will now look at the question of election fraud. The Senate bill will task lawmakers with considering a review of the U.S. assistance to Tanzania “for the purposes of reprioritizing such assistance should neutral observers determine that the October 2020 polls do not meet internationally accepted standards for credible elections.” Among considerations, would be targeted sanctions and visa restrictions on actors involved in humans rights abuses.

The situation in Tanzania faces disputes over handling the virus, the role of the media and the vitality of electoral systems. The Tanzanian Government will be under further scrutiny if S.Res. 756 passes.

Miska Salemann
Photo: Flickr

Improve U.S. Foreign AidThe U.S. is currently ranked seventh in the list of “best countries,” according to US News. Further, the nation is known worldwide for its dominant economy and strong military power. Given its global influence, the U.S. has the power to impact the lives of citizens in developing countries. Over the years, the U.S. has provided substantial aid to help reduce famine and poverty rates in some of the world’s poorest countries. To continue assisting vulnerable areas in the future, Congress holds the power to pass certain bills that improve U.S. foreign aid policies. Every year, lawmakers introduce several bills to improve U.S. involvement in developing countries. Here are 5 pending bills designed to improve U.S. foreign aid:

5 New Bills to Improve US Foreign Aid

  1. H.Res. 517. New York Representative, Eliot Engel, introduced this bill in July 2019. It aims to support the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and its Sixth Replenishment. It urges donor countries to help decrease the damage caused by these diseases, as well as to contribute donations. The bill also encourages recipient countries to keep their promises of utilizing the support to demonstrate progress in ending the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics.
  2. H.Con.Res. 78. California Representative, Barbra Lee, introduced this bill in December 2019. This measure strives to promote the ideas and goals of World AIDS Day. It also supports continued funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to fight illnesses such as AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Additionally, it provides HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in low and middle-income countries. Finally, this proposal supports efforts that contribute to decreased HIV rates worldwide and acknowledges the root causes of this disease in developing countries.
  3. S.Res. 169. Junior Senator for Oregon, Jeff Merkley, introduced this bill in April 2019. This measure presents a resolution to the statement under section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Concerning violations of human rights by the Government of Saudi Arabia: it states that the U.S. government should call on Saudi Arabia to release all innocent human rights activists currently imprisoned. This includes journalists and religious minorities as well. Furthermore, the bill requests that the Saudi Arabian government reverse its human rights violations.
  4. FY21. Newly introduced in response to the global crises of 2020, this bill includes $65.87 billion in foreign aid funding an increase of nearly $8.5 billion from the fiscal year 2020 budget. The bill designates $10 billion for funding global COVID-19 responses and for the World Health Organization. Also, this bill allocates $25 million to global maternal and child health, as well as $750 million for global family planning. Moreover, several million dollars contribute to various Global Health and Disease Programs.
  5. H.Res. 527. California Representative, Alan Lowenthal, introduced this bill on July 25, 2019. The goal of this bill is to promote human rights worldwide. It recognizes the violation and erosion of human rights in several countries and urges all U.N. members to promote human rights. Also, H. Res. 527 encourages the U.S. to develop programs that promote the recognition of justice for all. For example, the creation of the national holiday “Human Rights Day.”

Making an Impact

With more power and financing than many other countries, the U.S. is in a unique position to influence the economies and governments of developing nations. Through passing these bills to improve U.S. foreign aid and support, the nation can leave a lasting, positive impact on people living in poverty around the world.

– Megan Ha
Photo: Flickr

Beauty brands making a differenceMakeup brands are generally known for their aesthetically pleasing cosmetics and the confidence they provide their consumers. However, what is less well known is that many makeup brands are actively creating initiatives to help those in need. Most recently, many of these companies have spearheaded relief efforts to ease the impacts of the global pandemic. Here are five popular beauty brands making a difference amidst COVID-19.

5 Beauty Brands Making a Difference during COVID-19

  1. Milk Makeup. Milk Makeup is one of the beauty brands making a difference during this time. It is a popular brand best known for its minimalist makeup products. However, the company has gained recent attention for its assistance with COVID-19 in New York. On April 10, the brand partnered with the Wu-Tang Clan to donate 100 % of its proceeds from that day to the New York City COVID-19 relief effort: the event raised a total of $106,000 in just 24 hours. Additionally, the brand donated $250,000 in beauty products to frontline workers.
  2. L’Oreal. In response to COVID-19, this international drugstore brand has implemented a new initiative called “L’Oreal for the Future.” The program plans to donate 100 million euros to help combat global climate change. L’Oreal will also donate 50 million euros to support vulnerable women living in societies severely impacted by economic deficiencies. Further, the brand donated 400,000 hygiene products and 400,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to frontline hospital and retail staff in Great Britain and Ireland.
  3. MAC. MAC is another one of the beauty brands making a difference during these difficult times. Since 1994, MAC Cosmetics has held an annual “Viva Glam Campaign.” In previous years, the money from this campaign was dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS; however, in light of 2020’s recent events, the campaign has shifted to target COVID-19. Through this campaign, the beauty company has committed to donating $10 million to 250 U.S. and international organizations working to help those impacted by COVID-19.
  4. Avon. This cosmetics brand has partnered with Feed the Children for the past 16 years. However, in response to COVID-19, Avon has significantly strengthened its support of this nonprofit organization. The company has donated more than $2 million in personal care products and over $40 million in necessities to impacted families across the country.
  5. Thrive Causemetics. Thrive Causemetics is another one of the beauty brands making a difference. It has created a $1 million initiative to aid COVID-19 relief efforts. As part of this commitment, the company donated $10,000 to the University of Washington Virology Lab to help expand access to COVID-19 testing. Additionally, Thrive Causemetics gave $350,000 to various other United States organizations diligently working to fight COVID-19 such as Meals on Wheels, Baby2Baby and Feeding America.

These beauty brands are prime examples of companies utilizing their influences and platforms to impact their communities for good. In the future, cosmetics companies will hopefully continue working beyond their products to improve the lives of their consumers.

– Kira Lucas
Photo: Flickr

Sanitation in GabonGabon, officially known as the Gabonese Republic, is a coastal country about the size of Colorado, home to 2.1 million people. Independent of French imperial rule for only 60 years, the country maintains strong ties to European and American markets. Gabon neighbors the Atlantic Ocean to its west and many rivers inland, from the Ogooue to the Ivindo. Despite its recent development, however, poverty and access to basic sanitation still plague about one-third of the population. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Gabon: both the present and plans for the future.

10 Facts about Sanitation in Gabon

  1. The country is working toward providing clean water to all. Gabon’s first Libreville Integrated Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Program aims for universal access to sustainable forms for attaining drinking water and sanitation services by 2025. This program plans to expand the drinking water network out from the capital; by doing so, drinking water will reach about 300,000 more people in surrounding areas. The cities of Akanda, Owendo and Ntoum will all benefit from this infrastructure.
  2. Every home could soon have its own sanitation equipment. The use of shared sanitation in Gabon, or sanitation services utilized by two or more households, has significantly dropped from 36% of the population in 2003 to 27% in 2017. This is largely due to the increase in infrastructure for these services and outreach programs implemented by the government and international agencies.
  3. Defecating in public is uncommon, but back on the rise. Open defecation in Gabon is presently low, with 3% of the total population in 2017 compared to other countries like Niger (68%) and Ghana (18%). However, this figure actually shows an alarming increase from 2000, when a mere 1% of the population practiced open defecation.
  4. Disparities in access to water and sanitation are interconnected. In 2017, from the organized efforts of the WHO and UNICEF, it was reported that 90% of Gabon’s urban areas had access to drinking water but only 49% of households had access to basic sanitation services. In rural areas, availability drops significantly to 55% and 37%, respectively. Such disparities can be attributed to the lack of infrastructure and the wealth gap seen between the two areas.
  5. Education is helping to improve sanitation. Total Gabon and French organization Sensibilisation, Sante, Sexualite (3S) have been spearheading vital health programs in schools since 2017. These comprehensive programs aim to decrease the infant mortality rate and unsafe abortions. This will be done through education on sexual health, female hygiene and sanitation. As of 2017, over 40,000 people have learned the importance of family planning, contraception and pregnancy management. The program has also trained 42 young peer educators, who will become instrumental in further spreading valuable lessons on sanitation.
  6. Poor sanitation leaves Gabon’s citizens vulnerable to food and water-borne illnesses. According to a 2020 report from The World Factbook, people in Gabon are at a very high risk of food or waterborne diseases like bacterial diarrhea; however, deaths caused by diarrheal diseases have dropped by 22.8% from 2007 to 2017.
  7. Industrial pollution contributes to sanitation issues. In many underdeveloped countries, pollutants from excessive chemical use in agriculture and logging severely contaminate waterways. With Gabon’s robust timber industry, this phenomenon is especially apparent. Luckily, though, the country has dedicated one of its three pillars for a better future to environmental sustainability: “Green Gabon,” has diversified the job sector to reduce strain on the timber industry, lessening the amounts of air and water pollution byproducts. This translates into better conservation efforts, drinking water, disease and sanitation in Gabon.
  8. Drainage systems offer hope for improved sanitation. The Nzeng Ayong Watershed Management Project in Gabon incorporated a water drainage system in urban areas to improve sanitation in Gabon. As part of the National Indicative Program of the European Union, these drainage pipes and sanitation framework provided easy transport of wastewater. This helps prevent water-borne diseases and floods for 30,000 people in Libreville.
  9. COVID-19 is exacerbating current sanitation problems. Due to the global pandemic, many in Gabon are suffering a hard hit to their economy and the resulting unemployment. Nearly 250,000 additional people are now unable to pay their water bills, severely restricting access to drinking water. Gabon’s Budget Support Programme in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis not only intends to cover bills for those 250,000 people but also to distribute food aid to 60,000 people in its first phase alone.
  10. International aid organizations are getting involved. The World Bank and UNICEF have provided significant aid to Gabon. The World Bank has contributed $9 million to improve the country’s sanitation by supplying equipment like ambulances, personal protective equipment (PPE) and diagnostic kits. This money will also fund proper medical training and two new COVID-19 diagnostic centers. UNICEF has focused on supporting children in Gabon during COVID-19: the organization has funded sanitation kits, COVID-19 awareness campaigns, HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives and other educational efforts to 950 children without parental care. Mental and psychological resources have also been extended to 6,608 kids. Safe and accessible sexual abuse reporting systems have reached 811 people.

Universal sanitation and related basic needs are clearly part of an intricate web that entangles a host of other internal problems. With the rising influence of existing and emerging domestic and international programs, these investments will improve sanitation; this will ultimately move Gabon toward a healthier future.

– Mizla Shrestha
Photo: Flickr

CARES Act
On March 27, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law, which authorized more than $2 trillion to combat COVID-19 and its various economic and health effects. Of that amount, over $1 billion was allotted to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Here are some of the specifics:

  • The Department of State received $678 million. The State Department has been working to prevent the global spread of COVID-19, to stabilize the economies and to ensure the security of other countries. The State Department has also funded and worked closely with numerous international NGOs, including UNICEF and the World Food Program, to help those across the world in need of supplies and medical assistance.

  • Of that $678 million, $350 million was allotted specifically for migration and refugee assistance. Under the CARES Act, the State Department is tasked with working closely with NGOs like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross to prepare and respond to any outbreaks of COVID-19 among refugee populations.

  • USAID, specifically its International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account, received $258 million. Independent of the federal government, USAID is one of the largest aid agencies in the world. Here is how USAID and its IDA works to help the world’s poor.

How USAID Helps the World’s Poor

The IDA works to provide humanitarian assistance to people in other nations affected by natural disasters and emergencies. It provides basic necessities and resources like food, water, shelter and health care. The IDA also ensures that refugees and people fleeing conflict are able to receive humanitarian aid wherever they are.

More generally, USAID works to promote development in other countries across the globe. This development could be a reduction in poverty through humanitarian assistance. It could also come in the form of political change to ensure stability and economic prosperity, as USAID works to promote democracy.

The $258 million it received through the CARES Act will go directly towards providing other nations with medical and essential aid. The funding will benefit frontline workers in other countries and provide them with the medical tools and resources necessary to treat patients. Funding will also go towards providing those in need with food, shelter, water and other necessary supplies.

The world’s poor have been severely affected by COVID-19 and its economic and social implications. Millions have lost their jobs, and millions more have lost their homes due to their inability to pay rent, such as migrant workers living in India. USAID will provide direct relief to the poor and help them recover physically and financially.

How Foreign Aid Helps the U.S.

Providing foreign aid to countries around the world benefits the U.S. in numerous ways. First, foreign aid ensures national security. USAID works with other governments to create political, social and economic stability by promoting a more democratic political system and lifting people out of poverty. Stability in other nations is critical to U.S. national security.

Foreign aid can also strengthen the market for American-made goods. When people are lifted out of poverty and have the financial ability to purchase goods, there will be an increased demand for goods in general. American businesses and the economy will benefit, as U.S. trade constitutes significant portions of trade in numerous countries around the world. Promoting a stable economy with able buyers is critical to maintaining and increasing the strength of the U.S. economy.

The CARES Act could potentially save lives worldwide through direct medical aid and humanitarian assistance. USAID is working to equip medical workers around the world with the proper equipment and resources necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19. The CARES Act also provides funding to directly assist refugee populations without legal status in their current home. The U.S. aims to be a leader in solving this global crisis and the CARES Act could be a significant step in the right direction.

– Harry Yeung
Photo: Flickr