When I look at the definition of Foreign aid it boggles my mind to realize what it says. By definition, foreign aid is money that one country voluntarily transfers to another, which can take the form of a gift, a grant or a loan. So, why do our governments willingly send billions of tax payers money? Maybe it is to solve that countries economic problems or better yet maybe there is a give and take for doing so. A give and take that in some respects could be an exchange of services. But, does all the money go directly to the root cause of the problem?
In Canada, international assistance spending increased 3.7 percent in 2017 to 5.6 Billion, up from 2016 figures of 5.4 Billion. African countries seem to reap the greatest rewards from Canadian assistance. To dial it down for understanding, the largest recipient in 2017 was Afghanistan followed by Ethiopia, Jordan, Haiti and Mali. You might have seen, as I have, many news articles depicting the current Liberal government spending too much on foreign aid and not enough in our native soil. I am to the opinion that our government should direct some or more of national aid to help our country prosper. Canada has problems that need solving too, and using some much-needed tax dollars could bridge the gap with helping solve those problems.
When you look at cost efficiency and getting more bang for your buck we need to look at where every dollar is distributed, then try to figure out if all the money we give is benefiting the overall cause. Take for instance a “for profit” organization; all have operating costs, employee salaries, vehicle fleet charges and so on. In this case, it is almost certain that a percentage of the money generated is absorbed in these costs, with profits being realized in the end. For “non-profit” organizations this formula would seem redundant, unless there are hidden costs associated that the average person doesn’t see. Is the CEO of a non-profit agency taking a bonus or some other gratuity from the proceeds of every dollar given? The result being a lesser amount that is available to support the cause of that organization?
Providing aid to organizations like the World Food Program (WFP), an agency that is fighting worldwide hunger by reaching 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries is great. And I think this is a cause worth supporting however; I would be disappointed if they lost 20 out of every 100 dollars in aid just because some executive took a bonus. Fighting poverty is the forefront of two organizations, namely the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) and Oxfam International. The latter being an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approx. 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world. Providing aid to them is important too but again, every cent should go to them without the possibility of shortages.
Have we created a system that encourages foreign aid? A system that allows for individuals and organizations to take money instead of helping themselves? I have seen it many times in the various other news articles I read. Welfare systems being overfunded to keep up with the amount of people who claim they need the money. Indigenous groups taking advantage of the system instead of looking individually for higher education or employment. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these systems are bad or that the people who are using the system should not benefit. What I am saying is the system seems to be corrupt in a way that allows agencies and individuals to take advantage of them.
In my opinion, we need to take a hard look at Foreign Aid to possibly rewrite their charter to better support the countries and individuals this money goes to.