Taxpayer-funded international aid can be critical to help resource-poor countries, especially when facing crisis and situations of war or natural disasters. However, aid is frequently used to pursue foreign policy objectives and support domestic interests, such as those of US agribusinesses in the case of food aid.
International aid is critical to save lives, protect livelihoods, and help reconstruction in communities debilitated by war or natural disasters. It constitutes a critical element of solidarity between peoples, across races, borders, religions, and cultures, contributing towards a more equitable society.
However, while it is generally seen as an instrument of development for the poorest countries, aid is frequently provided by donors in a manner that supports their own economic interests or foreign policy agendas. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) candidly states, “The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programs has always been the United States… Foreign assistance programs have helped create major markets for agricultural goods, created new markets for American industrial exports and meant hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans.” This pattern is particularly evident in the provision of US food aid when supplied from the US to be shipped overseas often at the expense of local farmers.
International aid may also be conditioned on policy and regulatory changes that recipient governments must undertake. International financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and individual donor countries have a long history of leveraging countries into privatization and market liberalization — typically at the expense of local communities and to the benefit of multinational corporations.
Working with partners around the world, the Oakland Institute monitors and studies international aid practices as well as specific projects. This research guides our advocacy to promote good practices and denounce flaws and wrongdoings.
Down on the Seed: The World Bank Enables Corporate Takeover of Seeds
The African Development Bank Must Work for Africans, Not Agrochemical CorporationsThursday, September 15, 2022
Instead of doubling down on failed models, now is the time to support solutions that African farmers are calling for across the continent.
Protecting Human Rights is Essential to Conserving NatureThursday, December 9, 2021
So-called “conservation” — in the guise of tourism dollars as a development strategy — is denying basic rights for Indigenous pastoralists in Northern Kenya
Who pays the price of King Leopold’s Bugatti?Friday, September 4, 2020
On September 5, 2020, a private collection of some of the world’s fanciest cars, belonging to Hubert Fabri, a Belgian millionaire, will be auctioned at a sale at the Hampton Court Palace in London.
Emperor Has No New ClothesThursday, January 30, 2020
The EBA program was not created to help farmers. The Bank's claims to support farmers via the EBA is inherently contradictory to the own raison d'être of the program. The best way for the World Bank to assist farmers would be to disband the EBA program altogether.
The Failure of Input Subsidies and a New Path Forward to Fight Hunger in MalawiThursday, January 23, 2020
On October 15th 2019, Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhuma kicked off the 14th year of the country’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP). The program, which distributes vouchers to farmers that subsidize the cost of fertilizer and "improved" seed varieties, has been the dominant response to persistent food insecurity in the country.