Overseas Aid - What is it Really About?

I found this interesting explanation in the Masalai blogsite  http//www.masalai.wordpress.com 
by Paul on the aid issue. 

" The crux of the overseas aid problem appears at first to be hopelessly complex and difficult to understand. However maybe this is not really so. All one has to do is to break the problem down into the composite parts.

Firstly, why are there any overseas aid programs anyway? Here are a few reasons:

1. Influence – obtaining prestige on the world stage – PM Rudd (previous diplomat) is currently trying to achieve this by upping the aid program to gain acceptance and an ego trip on the world diplomatic stage. His last attempt to do this with the Copenhagen conference of climate change flew like a proverbial lead zeppelin. Hence he is now flying the overseas aid flag to try and get African states to assist in him getting a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. Who cares? Very few Australians that’s for sure. Yet the PNG PM is saying that his country will be a donor country. Go figure, as the ‘skeptics’  say.

2. National Security and Economic Gain – Humankind is very predictable and as each civilisation expands it seeks to excludes others who are in competition with it. This contest may be by open warfare but is usually carried out using economic influence and will include competition for natural resources. Look at the mining and timber industries in PNG as examples. Aid programs are often tailored with this aspect in mind.

3. Guilt – Some leaders of some less developed countries have perfected a very useful method of extracting free money from those developed countries who are considered ‘fair game’. This gives rise to the scenario where the erudite African despot and his secret police are living very well off the aid sent by donor countries who are appalled by the conditions in the despot’s country and want to help. With no freedom of the press and repressive policing, no one except the dictator really knows what goes on in his country and the aid program pays for the PR team (usually made up of overseas consultants who must keep the money rolling in to be paid, and therefore in order to keep the status quo going. Of course, this would never happen in PNG would it?

4. Genuine concern – The high moral ground must be taken by the NGO and Church groups who actually do achieve something, usually with very limited funding and volunteer staff. Not all missions in PNG are useful and some missionaries can be most unhelpful based on my direct observation.

5. Demand – Less developed countries are often lured into accepting aid money as a practical way of becoming more developed. This is a myth and almost every country that has become developed has done so without overseas aid assistance. What has overseas aid to PNG achieved over the last 35 years?

So what yardstick do you use to evaluate the aid program? Surely that should be assessed in long term benefits to the country receiving the aid? Wrong! Why? Because the donor countries get wound up in a never ending cycle of continually giving more because the very aid they give makes those receiving it more and more dependent."



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