Within the U.S., there is a misconception of the amount of foreign aid given to developing countries. Some Americans believe the government gives up to 25 percent of the budget, but less than 1 percent gets put towards foreign aid. Niger relies heavily on U.S. aid and from additional U.N. agencies; 45 percent of Niger government’s FY 2002 budget comes from foreign aid. The U.S. benefits from giving foreign aid to Niger because of the positive image and the fiscal and potential foreign policy opportunities.
Niger and the U.S. relations
Niger and the U.S. have maintained a diplomatic relationship since the 1960s. The U.S. is a principal donor to Niger, giving up to $10 million yearly in aid, along with helping to coordinate policy in matters like HIV/AIDS and food security. The U.S. benefits from giving foreign aid to Niger because of Niger’s involvement in the Economic Community of West Africa, a program the U.S. maintains a trade and investment agreement to. Along with this program, there is a bilateral investment agreement the U.S. and Niger share with each other.
Foreign aid in Niger
Being one of the poorest countries in Africa, Niger’s economy relies heavily on agricultural production, which is continuously interrupted by extreme heat and droughts. From June to August in 2010, Niger’s crops were destroyed due to the heat, which caused a famine where almost 350,000 people were facing starvation. International food aid was provided when Niger citizens began suffering from malnutrition and respiratory diseases that sickened many children. In addition to international food aid, U.S. foreign aid aims to improve food security, maintain peacekeeping methods and increase healthcare services. With the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, which began in January 2018, $437 million will be given to enhance Niger’s agricultural capabilities by increasing access to water, roads and markets. Additionally, Niger is one of six other countries that are involved in the Security Governance Initiative, a program that is labeled as a Counterterrorism Partnership Fund.
With programs and partnerships that the Niger and the U.S. participate in, Niger benefits from foreign aid because it is representative of their yearly budget and allows them to develop more resources to eventually become more self-reliant. In addition to providing aid, the U.S. additionally benefits from foreign aid to Niger. Microsoft founder Bill Gates explains how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid: “The 1 percent we spend on aid for the poorest not only saves millions of lives, it has an enormous impact on developing economies – which means it has an impact on our economy.” This shows that giving aid to third-world countries will positively affect the image of the U.S. and the economy.
– Alyssa Hannam