The U.S. has been helping Madagascar through various forms of aid and agreements for more than 30 years. In 2016, USAID was able to supply $91 million to Madagascar. Madagascar takes part in the President’s Malaria Initiative, water, sanitation and hygiene program and biodiversity conservation. The United States is part of an agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which helps frame trading and investments. Madagascar is one of the countries that can benefit massively from the agreement. The country is also eligible for even more trade benefits from the African Growth and Opportunity Act. However, this relationship is not one-sided; the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar in several ways.
According to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. imports from Madagascar include apparel, vanilla beans, precious stones and metals, perfumes and cosmetics. The U.S. exports machinery, rice, wheat, vegetable oil, aircraft and vehicles to Madagascar. Each item that the U.S. exports requires workers to make and package them, creating jobs in the U.S. to help Madagascar even more. Trading and exporting higher profit items such as vehicles further shows how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar.
In 2011, Bill Gates explained how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar and other countries as well. “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.” Years later, this statement is still accurate.
In 2016, Madagascar imported $2.79 billion in products, a 1.68 percent increase from 2011. This shows that the economy is growing and foreign aid is helping. However, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar not just through import and exports; foreign aid helps contribute to the security of the United States and can work to keep relations with countries such as Madagascar on reasonable terms.
In Madagascar, the United States focuses on helping with food security, disaster assistance and health. Recently, the United States has been the most significant donor to this country. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar because, with all of this support, all that is left is progress. Progress related to the economy, healthcare systems and the continuation of development after natural disasters are all ongoing.
As Madagascar works to lower the 92 percent of people living on $2 a day, the U.S. will start to see benefits. For example, American businesses will benefit because as people who were once in poverty become wealthier, they will have money to purchase consumer goods. This example is critical to show how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Madagascar.
In sum, Madagascar is still struggling daily and needs foreign aid to help, especially with the number of natural disasters that occur every year. However, all of the progress that is being made shows how essential foreign aid is to improving the lives of Madagascar’s citizens and increasing trade opportunities for the U.S.
– Amber Duffus