Skip to main content Skip to footer

International Aid

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.

Overview

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.

What we are doing about it

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.

Publications

Sahel: A Prisoner of Starvation? A Case Study of the 2005 Food Crisis in Niger

In the summer of 2005, the world rocked to Live Aid concerts and the Make Poverty History Movement celebrated developed countries’ fresh commitments towards the International Development Goals (IDG), development assistance, and debt cancellation at the G8 summit in Gleanagles. Some three thousands miles south of this euphoria, a nation witnessed thousands of its children die of hunger. This was summer 2005 in Niger, the poorest country in the...

The High Food Price Challenge: A Review of Responses to Combat Hunger

High food prices in 2007-2008 threatened the livelihoods and food security of billions of people worldwide for whom getting enough food to eat was already a daily struggle. All over the world, individuals, civil society groups, governments and international organizations took action to cope with the crisis triggered by skyrocketing food prices.

Additional Languages:

Pages