Do We Need Foreign Aid: Arguments

Pages: 7 (2714 words) Published: April 9, 2013

Arguments on whether we need aid or not go way back in time. Critics or Economists such as Dambisa Moyo, William Easterly, James Shikwati and Friedman Milton believe that aid has not added to the development of most recipient countries. They have argued that aid has only enlarged government bureaucracies, perpetuated bad governments and enriched the elite in poor countries. Friedman specifically argues that “foreign aid has done far more harm to the countries than it has done good and this is because in every case, foreign aid has strengthened governments that were already too powerful” (Friedman, 1991). On the other hand, supporters of aid such as Jeffrey Sachs counter react to the above arguments by saying the statements above are partially right but they have been exaggerated. Sachs and others have argued that although aid has sometimes failed, it has supported poverty reduction and growth in some countries both in Africa and Asia. The same aid is believed to have prevented worse performance in other countries (Sachs, 2009). The aim of this essay is to agree that Africa, Asia and Latin America still needs development aid in order to develop. Aid is still important to the development of less developed countries. This is true because a number of poor countries have been helped by this aid although it might seem aid has done more harm than good. The only way is to change how this aid is administered, like removing the conditionalities tied to aid, maybe this way will help developing governments to plan and implement their own programmes without the interference of the donor. The discussion will analyse both the negative and positive effects of development aid using some country examples. The conclusion of the analysis will be that aid should not stop but the way it is administered should change. The essay will begin by giving a brief explanation of what aid is, and then it will give an analysis of the role of development aid in promoting development by giving both the positive and negative effects. Finally the essay will discuss the current efforts to improve the effectiveness of the aid system. 2.0 What is aid?

Aid can be defined in so many ways and situations by different people. Aid maybe classified as humanitarian aid, development aid or food aid, depending on the situation. The definition of aid, at its broadest terms, maybe all those resources such as physical goods, skills and technical know-how, financial grants, loans which are transferred by the donors (usually from developed countries) to the recipients (usually developing countries). The most important thing to note is that aid is always aimed at bringing or adding development to a particular country. This is why Riddell Roger calls all forms of aid as development aid; he goes on to say that this aid is used for development purposes. He also adds that there is another kind of aid called humanitarian or emergency aid which is used, or intended for, humanitarian and emergency purposes (Riddell, 2008, p. 21). The term Official Development Aid (ODA) is sometimes used in place of foreign aid and this term came from a committee known as Development Aid Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This committee was formed in 1960 to promote and coordinate aid from donor governments (ibid, p.18). Food aid is usually given to countries which are suffering from a shortage of food. It is mainly given to improve people’s lives in the short term, so that a society can increase its standard of living to the point that food aid is no longer required. Humanitarian aid or emergency aid is quick assistance given to people in immediate distress by individuals, organizations, or governments to relieve suffering, during and after man-made emergencies (like wars) and natural disasters. Development aid is aid given by developed countries to support development in general which can be economic development or...

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Dochas, the Irish Association of Non-governmental Development Organisations (2010) Aid effectiveness, [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 6 March 2013].
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Moyo, D. (2009) Dead Aid, England: Penguin book.
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