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What is the Current State of Poverty in Haiti?

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the developing world. Despite this, the Trump Administration is abruptly ending the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. The humanitarian program allowed about 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the U.S. since the 2010 earthquake which killed 150,000 people.

Haitians will be expected to leave the U.S. by July 2019 or face deportation. This is devastating news for Haitians who earn money in the U.S. to send to their families and for those receiving an education.

Poverty in Haiti

According to the World Bank, life expectancy for Haitians is only 57 years. Less than half of the population is literate and only about one child in five of secondary-school age actually attends secondary school.

Health conditions are poor and about one-fourth of the population has access to safe water. The population continues to grow at a high rate, estimated at almost 200,000 people per year, with the overwhelming majority living in extreme poverty.

Key factors of poverty in Haiti include political instability, inadequate growth in private investment, underinvestment in human capital, and poverty traps including environmental degradation, crime, systematic human rights violations, and outward migration.

Steps to be taken

  1. Strengthen essential public sector institutions, improve coordination and consultation within government, and re-establish and consolidate political stability.
  2. Strengthen macroeconomic stability and reduce distortions in order to encourage private sector investment and increase productivity.
  3. Improve the quality of government spending, invest in the provision of basic human needs, and raise the level of human capital.
  4. Ration the assistance provided by external donors.

There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but instead of abandoning Haitians when they need help the most, the U.S. needs to directly help with overturning their situation of dire poverty.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

Medical humanitarian aidAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an epidemic is a significant and sudden increase in the number of cases of a particular disease in a specific area or within a certain population. Epidemics can present themselves all over the world. However, epidemics are most common in impoverished, war-torn and developing countries.

Medical humanitarian aid can help end epidemics in many impoverished countries. Most countries that receive foreign humanitarian aid are not properly equipped to deal with disease outbreaks, nor do they have the trained medical professionals needed. This is how a disease outbreak quickly turns into an epidemic.

Many international medical relief groups focus their efforts on controlling epidemics by providing adequate medical training, professionals and equipment. Listed below are some of the international medical relief groups that are working toward ending epidemics.

Medical Teams International

Medical Teams International is a Christian-based international relief group that has been using medical humanitarian aid to help end epidemics. The group works by delivering medical supplies and trained volunteers to areas in need. The mission of the group is to provide medical, dental, humanitarian and holistic relief to diverse areas without discrimination.

For over 25 years, Medical Teams International has been providing relief for refugees in impoverished and war-torn countries. For example, in 2017 the United Nations declared a famine in South Sudan as a result of the civil war that has been ongoing since 2013. Shortly after the declaration, Medical Teams International dispatched massive relief efforts to combat the Cholera and Malaria epidemics.

Currently, Medical Teams International has provided medical humanitarian aid to over 520 thousand Sudanese refugees, severely curving the disease epidemics in that area.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is one of the most well known international medical-based relief groups in the world. For over 45 years, the group has dispersed trained medical professionals and medical humanitarian aid across the globe. Medecins Sans Frontieres is also on the cusp of many medical initiatives in impoverished countries.

Medecins Sans Frontieres is known for tackling large disease outbreaks and epidemics in poor and dangerous areas. In 2017, Medecins Sans Frontieres dispatched relief efforts to Uganda after the country was declared in a state of humanitarian emergency. The group focused its efforts on the recent Cholera outbreak spreading through Uganda, setting up multiple Cholera clinics to help treat and prevent the spread of Cholera to other refugees in Uganda.

Direct Relief

Direct Relief is another nonprofit humanitarian aid organization that primarily focuses on medical relief to devastated areas. The goal of the organization is to provide proper and comprehensive medical aid for impoverished areas and emergencies. In 2017, Forbes ranked Direct Relief among the top United States charities.

Over the past five years, Direct Relief has provided medical humanitarian aid to over 80 countries, many in Africa and South Asia. They have supplied over two thousand healthcare facilities and have sent billions of U.S. dollars worth of medical equipment and supplies.

These international organizations and many more have worked hard to make medical humanitarian aid more accessible to impoverished countries. Many epidemics that have started due to unsafe food, unsafe water and a generally poor environment have been contained and even eliminated by medical humanitarian aid. These organizations believe that with the right aid and volunteers, diseases around the world can be eradicated.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

U.S. benefits from foreign aid to TurkeyTurkey is a country with great geographical significance, connecting Eastern Europe and West Asia, and bordering several Middle Eastern countries that now stand at the center of conflict in the region, including Syria, Iran and Iraq. Therefore, it is important for Americans to understand how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Turkey and to weigh the relative benefits they derive from providing foreign aid to the nation.

Turkey is a nation with a long history of political disorder. Recent years have been no different, with the country seeing the expansion of federal power and the decline of democracy stemming from a controversial governmental reform in 2017, along with suffering the fallout of a brutal civil war that broke out in neighboring Syria. These events have caused many Americans to question why their nation is planning to spend $3.8 million in foreign aid for Turkey in 2018. While many believe that such aid is primarily for humanitarian aims, in fact, this financial assistance to Turkey is actually a key part of the military strategy that affects United States policy in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

According to the U.S. State Department, nearly all of the foreign aid designated for Turkey is for military use. These resources have been helpful in allowing Turkey to bolster American aims in the Middle East, as the nation shares a border with both Iraq and Iran, countries that are of great significance to the United States. Iraq, a major economic interest due to its high supply of oil, is an unstable region in which the United States remains militarily involved following the Iraq War. Iran, a country with longstanding tensions with the United States, recently entered into a controversial nuclear deal with America in an attempt to manage Iranian development of nuclear technology. Providing aid to Turkey helps the United States ensure it has some influence over Turkish foreign policy, which Americans of course hope aligns with the best interest of the United States.

Another one of the direct U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Turkey is related to the NATO alliance. Turkey is a key member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the vital military alliance between the United States and most European countries that has been key to checking Russian aggression in Europe for decades. Turkey has a vested interest in working with the organization, as its location next to Syria, a perilous region with heavy Russian involvement, puts it at odds with President Putin’s regime, making it important that the United States remains directly involved in Turkish affairs.

The most significant recent use of American foreign aid has been helping Turkey deal with the Syrian refugee crisis. As a result of the devastating Syrian Civil War, Turkey has been among the countries dealing directly with the humanitarian crisis caused by a massive influx of refugees. American foreign aid has been vital in helping to manage this crisis, allowing Turkey to organize a response to the growing number of refugees and preventing further destabilization in the country that might open a door to exploitation by extremist terrorist groups or Russian influence. If extremists of any type were to gain control over the Turkish government and its resources, the implications for United States national security and foreign policy could be disastrous.

Overall, because Turkey sits in a key position between the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and because it is linked militarily to the NATO alliance, it will continue to be a strategically important focus of American foreign aid. Despite Turkey’s flaws, such as its fragile electoral system and troubling history of ignoring the freedom of its domestic press, it remains a highly useful ally of the United States and a means by which the longstanding political instabilities of the region can be managed. The current political climate in the area, along with the longstanding NATO alliance, means there are still many U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Turkey.

– Shane Summers

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to UkraineUkraine has faced ferocious political turmoil and civilian unrest in recent years, marked by war and corruption. Currently, it is crucial for Ukraine to continue its path to democracy. Congress must recognize how the U.S. benefits from humanitarian aid to Ukraine now more than ever. In the wake of recent cuts to foreign assistance in the 2018 and 2019 budget proposal, Ukraine’s stability depends on its American partnership.

For more than two-thirds of the twentieth century, Ukraine endured the oppressiveness of the Soviet Union. In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence, but it was plagued by deep-seated political corruption. This stronghold-tainted governance in Ukraine resulted in the imprisonment of its first female prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011 and the exiling of its fourth president Viktor Yanukovich in 2014.

Not only has Ukraine suffered instability and corruption in its political arena, but dirty politics have bled through its microeconomics as well. For example, patients may have access to medical treatment, but they oftentimes must bribe doctors in order to get the treatment they really need. This deep-rooted corruption which permeates all levels of society and government in Ukraine has historically threatened foreign aid and investment.

Unfortunately, foreign interest is tightening its grip on the power of the purse. In a recent breakthrough, Ukraine’s largest foreign backers, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (E.U.), announced they will not lend to Ukraine without serious progress on key reforms, including the fight against corruption. The IMF is comprised of 189 countries working to promote sustainable economic growth, trade and global poverty reduction.

The upside is that corruption levels have actually begun to decrease. In recent years, Ukraine has taken long-term steps to fight against corruption, including implementing anti-corruption agencies in the judiciary, public procurement and state-owned enterprises. These are some incentives that Congress can rely on when weighing in on how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Ukraine.

The U.S. has been the world’s only superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union. America as a superpower holds great influence, characterized by its far-reaching ability to exert influence on a global scale. So what are the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Ukraine?

The U.S. has much to gain from coordinating with donors to Ukraine. Undeniably, foreign aid has been historically used in policymaking as a means to gain international leverage. Assisting Ukraine with humanitarian and foreign aid helps promote U.S. policy objectives. Ukraine is situated between Russia and the NATO-affiliated European countries, a geostrategic location for both the U.S. and the E.U.

Foreign aid to Ukraine will also support nuclear security, a strong interest to global safety, despite much of Ukraine’s energy resources now coming from Europe. Establishing Ukraine’s own energy supplies will prevent Russia from making weapons of Ukraine’s energy resources in the future.

Additionally, remedying Ukraine’s medical industry under the Global Health Initiative (GHI) will significantly improve disease containment. GHI aims to improve public health and strengthen U.S. national security through detecting, preventing and controlling global disease. Agencies such as PEPFAR provide direct service and assistance in Ukraine to maximize the medical quality and coverage of the national HIV/AIDS response.

Lastly, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Ukraine by assisting Ukrainians who suffer from the War in Donbass. In March of 2014, Russia responded to Ukraine’s distressed political state by invading and annexing Crimea, an Eastern Ukrainian territory, which has caused war and hurt Ukraine’s economic growth. This has created political, economic and social conflict, and is a direct result of the War in Donbas, home to Ukraine’s major mining industry.

The Trump Administration recently approved a sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. Political analysts believe that the public will see the sales as a principled signal that the United States will support its allies. This type of political leverage is a clear way the U.S. can benefit from its support to Ukraine. The move was made in light of ongoing requests by Ukrainian advocates as a result of the War in Donbass and supported by the fact that Ukraine was not the aggressor.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine (OCHA) has calculated that nearly 4.4 million Ukrainians are affected by the conflict in Donbas and 3.4 million are in need of humanitarian aid and protection. Now, more than ever, Ukraine needs humanitarian aid.

Because funding for humanitarian aid has been cut in 2018 and is projected to be cut again in 2019, the World Food Bank can only assist those affected by the War in Donbass. Yet, the rest of Ukraine suffers, as 23 percent of households will go without adequate food. Despite this, people in Eastern Ukraine are suffering the most from displacement, lack of medical care and food and subjectivity to war.

As the world’s only superpower since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which left Ukraine in disarray, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Ukraine because it will help build confidence in the people suffering in Ukraine and promote the democracy Ukraine has struggled to achieve. When democracy is encouraged in the world, it is always an interest of the U.S.

– Alex Galante 

Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid Is Getting BetterGovernment-funded aid and development programs do not benefit from the free market pressures generating growth and improved efficiency in the private sector. However, since the emergence of the international aid system following World War II, many countries’ philanthropic expenditures have become more transparent, sustainable and effective. This upward trend continues to this day; foreign aid is getting better, thanks to several improvements in their methods and philosophies.

Data Science

The first step in solving a problem is identifying it. This cliche is rarely more relevant than in the world of foreign aid, where economists and data scientists have spent years trying to measure, model and tailor solutions to the world’s most intractable problems. Good data are essential for development initiatives to establish baselines, set goals and targets, track progress and evaluate results.

Since the Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics was agreed to in 2004, more than 86 percent of International Development Association countries have completed or begun developing national strategies for gathering statistics. To carry this progress forward, organizations like the World Bank and the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science offer training on data practices to members of developing countries.

The science continues to improve. In 2014, Jesse Berns, a veteran of war and disaster zones, developed the Dharma Platform, an innovative new software designed for the rapid collection, sharing, and analysis of data in chaotic situations. Already adopted by Doctors Without Borders in 22 countries, Dharma is one example of how foreign aid is getting better.

Technology

The Dharma platform, made possible by the ubiquity of mobile phones, dovetails with another accelerator of foreign aid efficacy, technology. Recognizing the need to harness new technologies in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in 2014, USAID established the U.S. Global Development Lab (USGDL) “to produce breakthrough development innovations by sourcing, testing and scaling proven solutions to reach hundreds of millions of people.” USGDL is comprised of scientists and experts from a range of private-sector partners and works with labs in universities across the country. Leadership has set ambitious goals, hoping to provide digitized agricultural data by mobile phone to 42 million small farmers in Africa within five years and standalone energy solutions to 40 million people.

While most of the impact of technological innovation occurs outside of the context of development assistance, the USGDL illustrates an essential way that foreign aid is getting better, by harnessing technology as an indispensable development tool. Since 2012, the program has expanded internet access to approximately 20 million new mobile and internet users around the globe, and directly supported USAID health and education programs by connecting 56 schools and 39 hospitals to the web.

Foreign Aid Is Getting Better by Shifting Its Approach

While improving the material lives of recipients is an essential goal of foreign aid, material donations have a limited to negative impact when they are misaligned with a country’s development needs. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development‘s Working Party on Aid Effectiveness recognized at the beginning of the 21st century that “promoting widespread and sustainable development was not only about amounts of aid given, but also about how aid was given.” Learning from the lessons of decades of misalignment and waste, foreign aid organizations are shifting away from dollars-and-cents inputs to an emphasis on self-sufficiency and building donor-recipient coordination.

Foreign aid is a young enterprise. Most of the organizations that come to mind with respect to foreign aid did not exist until the second half of the 20th century. While much progress has been made in improving foreign aid initiatives, from improving accountability to investing in sustainable, bottom-up solutions, foreign aid is getting better. Providing effective assistance to those in need is undeniably difficult, but it is getting easier. 

– Whiting Tennis

Photo: Flickr

How the U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to SudanSudan, a country in North Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world and has significantly relied on foreign aid over the years for its development. In fact, the country is still coping with challenges that are the consequences of political instability, economic shocks and recurrent environmental hazards, such as droughts and floods, which have resulted in 4.8 million people needing humanitarian assistance.

Many people still die from hunger and diseases, and there are nearly 2.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, 230,000 IDPs in the government-controlled parts of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, and 545,000 IDPs residing in locations that are not under government control. Due to this ongoing emergency situation in the country, it is not difficult to understand why the U.S. and other nations should give foreign aid to Sudan. However, in many ways, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Sudan as well.

History of U.S.-Sudan Relations

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Sudan can be traced back to 1956 after the latter had gained independence from joint administration by Egypt and the United Kingdom. However, the nations severed diplomatic ties a few times before the U.S. Embassy was finally reopened in 2002, and has been ever since. Sudan still faces several disputes that threaten its political stability.

For instance, Sudan and South Sudan still have unresolved disputes regarding border demarcation and the status of the Abyei region. Foreign aid to countries like Sudan not only covers basic necessities such as food and shelter, but can also help maintain peace through the promotion of effective reconciliations and investments in youth. As a powerful nation, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Sudan because providing assistance will contribute towards a healthy and peaceful Sudan, which, in the long run, also helps the U.S.

How Conflict in Sudan Can Affect the U.S.

Conflicts, even seemingly minor ones far away from the U.S., can nonetheless affect everyone everywhere. Minor disputes could escalate into global crises, resulting in terrorist acts all over the world. Acts of terrorism affect everyone and threaten world peace. Hence, as a superpower nation, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Sudan that can contribute to bringing peace to the country.

Additionally, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Sudan because, in one year, violence and conflict cost the global economy $13.6 trillion, which is equivalent to 13.3 percent of the gross world product and 11 times the amount spent on foreign direct investment.

Moreover, providing basic necessities to the most vulnerable people could also help avoid further conflict in the region, as numerous studies have found a link between poverty and acts of violence. Poverty and political instability can fuel acts of violence among vulnerable groups of people, who become desperate enough to take any measures in order to escape their conditions.

The Work Being Done to Promote U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Sudan

USAID/OFDA is “addressing the acute and protracted needs of conflict-affected populations in Sudan by prioritizing integrated activities in health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene.” Such continued assistance can be life-saving for many. It could also help keep people from turning to dangerous outlets like violence in order to meet basic necessities.

In short, U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Sudan because it promotes peace not only in Sudan but also in the U.S., since violence in one area can affect the entire world.

– Mehruba Chowdhury

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Recipients of U.S. Foreign Aid in 2018Despite comprising less than 1 percent of the United States’ federal budget, foreign aid still plays a major part in shaping the United States’ diplomatic and military positions around the world. Many U.S. citizens also have major misconceptions about the amount dedicated to foreign aid and the impact it has on economic growth and national security. This makes it important to look at the top 10 recipients of U.S. foreign aid in 2018 and examine its positive impact on the United States and the world.

  1. Iraq – $347.9 million
    One of the most notable recipients of U.S. foreign aid is Iraq. The conflict in Iraq has remained a major contributor to global instability for 15 years now, claiming the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Thus, the United States plans to spend $347,860,000 in 2018 to help stabilize the region. Current plans involve economic assistance following the collapse of world oil prices (a major contributor to Iraq’s economy), the stabilization of territories recovered from the Islamic State, and support for a humanitarian response to the needs of displaced citizens. Foreign aid to Iraq is key to the United States’ success, as it strengthens national security and helps diminish the threat of terrorist organizations such as ISIL that thrive in unstable regions.
  2. Nigeria – $419.1 million
    The primary goal of the United States’ foreign assistance in Nigeria is the reduction of extreme poverty in the region. Aid in Nigeria also seeks to support the creation of a stable democratic system that engages citizen input and is less vulnerable to attacks by radical terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, which has devastated the northern region of the country through bombings and assassinations over the past several years. Better aid in Nigeria would promote a higher quality of life for local citizens, economically benefit the United States and stop the spread of radical terrorism.
  3. Zambia – $428.9 million
    In Zambia, the United States has pledged funding in order to lower extremely high rural poverty rates in the county, as well as create a mineral economy that offers more prosperity for its citizens. Aid will also go towards establishing sustainable agriculture and combating the spread of deadly diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Investing in Zambia is both humanitarian and helps develop new foreign markets for United States goods in the future.
  4. Uganda – $436.4 million
    Helping the government of Uganda establish sustainable economic development in its communities is key to the stabilization of East Africa as a whole. Uganda has been an ally of the United States, helping with regional threats to national security, and further aid benefits both countries immensely. Aid planned for 2018 will also support the ideals of a multi-party democratic system and will help fight the spread of deadly diseases that threaten to devastate local communities.
  5. Tanzania – $535.3 million
    Despite an increasingly flawed, but stable, multiparty governmental system, and a strong and growing economy, over a quarter of Tanzanians live below the poverty line. As one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, Tanzania aims to address issues of poverty among the populace, and at the same time advance American interests by creating a strong economic ally in the region.
  6. Kenya – $639.4 million
    Despite a series of democratic reforms that have taken place throughout the past decade, Kenya’s political system still suffers from pervasive government corruption and ethnic feuds. Many farmers and citizens live in drought-prone areas, which could spell disaster for some communities in future years and worsen tensions in the country. Planned aid to Kenya this year will increase the ability of the public to hold officials accountable and foster development of drought-prone areas in order to protect people from climate disasters in the future.
  7. Afghanistan – $782.8 million
    Like Iraq, Afghanistan has been one of the least stable countries in the Middle East in the past decade. The presence of the Taliban and subsequent military invasion by the United States caused immense instability in the struggling country. Planned aid in 2018 aims to cement democratic conditions in the fragile new Afghani government and embolden security forces to fight Taliban insurgencies and the expansion of the Islamic State, while also creating self-reliant communities that are less susceptible to occupation and exploitation. Aid to Afghanistan is key to establishing a more stable Middle East and stopping the dangerous spread of radical terrorism.
  8. Jordan – $1 billion
    Due to its location next to war-torn Syria, Jordan is at the center of the current refugee humanitarian crisis, which makes strengthening economic development in the country essential. As one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, Jordan is receiving help to cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the devastating Syrian civil war, as well as increase democratic accountability and gender equality within the Jordanian government.
  9. Egypt – $1.39 billion
    In providing aid to Egypt, one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, the United States intends to improve food security and good governance in the country, while also strengthening its ability to fight extremist terrorism that threatens the country. Aid will also help to continue the healthy economic relationship between Egypt and the United States. Though most aid is dedicated to security and economic development, around $30 million is intended to promote health and education among Egyptian citizens.
  10. Israel – $3.1 billion
    As one of the only functioning democracies in the Middle East, the United States has long supported Israel’s development efforts. The clear majority of Israeli foreign aid goes towards the development of defense programs against regional threats that jeopardize both American and Israeli interests. The United States also hopes to open a pathway of diplomatic negotiations with Palestinians to develop a peaceful resolution to regional conflicts.

These examples demonstrate the varied uses of U.S. foreign aid, and the different methods in which it is used to benefit the country. Whether invested in unstable states to boost global economic development and prevent terrorism, used to promote humanitarianism and improve the global view of the United States, or delegated to defense programs and assistance that increase U.S. soft power and influence, foreign aid has been used to benefit United States interests throughout the globe. This shows that foreign aid is not just an altruistic option, but one beneficial to the U.S. and its citizens.

– Shane Summers

Photo: Flickr

The Security of Foreign Aid in a Radical Right Shift
Across the globe, and particularly in Europe, there has been a rise in nationalism and radical right-wing political parties have gained momentum and government positions. For many, this is concerning as their rhetoric tends to me anti-Semitic, xenophobic and anti-immigrant.

Those dependent on foreign aid may also fear that aid will decrease as these parties gain power; however, the good news is that the security of foreign aid has yet to be affected by this radically rightward shift.

Recent Developments

The success of the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party upset the predictions of many political pundits. In the September German elections, the radical right-wing party easily did better than any other party in the election, advancing from zero to 94 seats in the Bundestag.

According to Dr. Erica Edwards, a political science professor at Miami University of Ohio who specializes in nationalism and European political parties, this was not the expected outcome — due to their history with the Nazi party, the German political system has buffers in place to prevent such a party from gaining power; yet, the AfD still prospered.

Germany has been an incredibly significant contributor to foreign aid within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and is the third largest contributor within the Development Assistance Committee providing $17.8 billion in 2015. A drop in aid from the country would have significant impacts, but if Germany follows suit with other increasingly nationalized countries, the security of foreign aid will remain intact.

Security So Far

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, has members all over the world, including the major European powers, and works “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.” The organization measures net ODA, Official Development Assistance, for each of its members along with other measures of foreign aid output.

Hungary, a member of the OECD along with Germany, has faced a resurgence of radical right-wing sentiment in recent years. Viktor Orbán has been Prime Minister since 2010 and has made some radical and nationalist remarks exacerbated by the growing popularity of Jobbik, the second most popular and most radical right-wing party in the country.

Foreign Aid

Despite being ahead of Germany in radical right popularity, Hungary experienced a 13 percent increase in net ODA in 2014 and allocated up to $152 million in development aid in 2015.

Hungary has not been the most substantial contributor to the Development Assistance Committee, particularly in comparison to Germany, but the nation still continues to increase its foreign aid and has secured it up to 2020, despite popular nationalist rhetoric. Poland, another increasingly nationalist country and member of the OEDC, has also kept their foreign aid output fairly steady.

Maintaining a Watchful Eye

Although the rhetoric of these radical right parties can be problematic and oppressive to many, it does not appear to affect the security of foreign aid. However, Dr. Edwards believe it is important to keep an eye on these parties and the countries they govern as the situation is still unpredictable.

If citizens remain engaged and vigilant, then they have the power to maintain the security of foreign aid for those who depend on it.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

24. U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to GuatemalaGuatemala sits at the neck of the Central American landmass; it connects Mexico and North America to El Salvador, Honduras and South America. As a connector between continents, it is a cornerstone government in international politics. There are many ways that Guatemala benefits from foreign aid, and there are plenty of ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala.

According to the U.S. Department of State, assistance from the U.S. to Guatemala is focused mainly on:

  1. Anti-corruption and anti-trafficking policy
  2. Human rights defense
  3. Free-trade agreements

One main interest in Guatemala is building a strong anti-illegal immigration task force in the region due to a rising number of illegal immigrants from Guatemala to the U.S. In return, Guatemala offers many imports and exports, as well as political support and free trade agreements between the two countries and other international organizations.

Recently, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala through the country’s support in political spheres to make social statements. The cooperation reflects Guatemala’s reliance on U.S. aid. In a Dec. 25, 2017 article, CNN reported that Guatemala was moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The change implied that they, as well as the U.S., recognize Israel and not Palestine as the nation which rightfully inhabits the land. 

By deciding to move the embassy, the U.S. and Guatemala went against U.N. protocol regarding the situation. The U.N. later decided in a 128-9 vote to approve a resolution calling on other countries to avoid moving their embassies to Jerusalem. By siding together, Guatemala and the U.S. showed a strong mutual support.

On Guatemala’s side, offering a united front in support of the U.S. not only secures their relations with the U.S., and therefore their trade agreements and aid agreements, but it also helps Guatemala look like a dominant political figure. The U.S. and Guatemala both benefit from foreign aid, but the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Guatemala in many political and social spheres.

– Molly Atchison

Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde

Around 500 kilometers off the west coast of Africa lies the former Portuguese colony of Cabo Verde, a volcanic archipelago republic made up of ten islands and five islets in the central Atlantic Ocean. The country not only lacks in natural resources but also possesses a tiny portion of arable land and is prone to drought.

Despite these prevalent difficulties, Cabo Verde won an international reputation for maintaining economic and political stability, due largely in part to the humanitarian aid sent to the country.

 

Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde is a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy with a high trade deficit, most of which is offset by foreign aid and economic remittances sent by emigrants back to the country. The U.S. State Department praises the country as a “model of democratic governance,” noting the country’s high literacy rates and high per capita income among “the best development indicators of any country in the region.”

Cabo Verde received the notable distinction of becoming the first African state to complete its first Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in late 2010. The MCC is an independent foreign aid agency established by Congress that works with partner countries around the world to alleviate global poverty.

 

Compact Stipulations

Following this successful $110 million MCC initiative that strengthened the country’s infrastructure and boosted agricultural production, the Cabo Verde government signed a five-year compact in 2012 to institute further water, sanitation and land management reforms. This second compact builds upon the first to establish transparency and accountability to achieve actionable results.

Last year, the government celebrated the end of its second compact and became the first one in the world to benefit from such a remarkable success of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde.

“We are proud of the partnership between MCC and Cabo Verde that has built a solid foundation aimed at reducing poverty and improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities across the country,” MCC Vice President Robert Blau said at a closeout ceremony held on November 30, 2017. “We are also heartened by the Government of Cabo Verde’s commitment to continuing these programs and reforms in order to guarantee sustainability of the investments.”

Essentiality of Humanitarian Aid

The success of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde is possible thanks to the united efforts of numerous countries and international aid organizations across the globe. The Cabo Verde government has also managed and administered the aid funds responsibly, entrusting state-owned companies and religious institutions with the implementation of developmental projects.

 

The United Nations

The United Nations (U.N.) has actively worked within the country through many conventions and projects. For instance, in early December, the U.N. held a seminar on social security, economic growth and development in the country. A month earlier, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) worked with the National Directorate of Health and National Sexual Health Program to develop a national strategic plan for improving sexual and reproductive health in the country.

Specialized programs and agencies of the United Nations, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have also advised the government on the best ways to make efficient use of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde.

 

The Success Story

The African Development Bank has highlighted the success story of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde in a detailed research project report, affirming that the very small island economy has “managed to defy the odds and transform itself from an extremely poor country into one of the better performing economies in Africa in just over two decades,” and thus managed to overcome “severe geographic, economic, and social challenges to become an African success story.”

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr