Even in the United States’ early years as a new country, our leaders have been arguing over our nation’s involvement in foreign aid. The best interest of the United States has often been the top priority in debates regarding the country’s involvement in foreign affairs. Though it is worth consideration that by assisting in the development of the world, the United States is able to participate in the benefits.
The United States is a developed country. In 2018, America had the leading Gross Domestic Product at 20,865,462, which is around 24 percent of the world’s GDP and double the amount of China (13,457,267). And yet the country spends only a small fraction on foreign aid.
“US foreign aid is a tiny share of the country’s GDP 0.1% to 0.2% and thus the cost to the country is quite low even though the popular impression is that the figure is very large,” said Dwight Perkins, professor of political economy at Harvard University. The country stands to give – and gain – a lot from investing in foreign aid as well.
Here are several reasons why participating in foreign aid would be a good idea for the United States:
- Foreign aid improves the world’s health
Foreign aid allows the United States. also does its duty to minimize any possible health issues and diseases from traveling overseas or across borders, like the current virus causing countries to lockdown. Chipping in to improve the health conditions in a developing population will improve the quality of health around the world, particularly with HIV/AIDS. USAID Supported training for more than 250,000 healthcare workers to deliver HIV and other health services. https://www.usaid.gov/global-health/health-areas/hiv-and-aids.
2. Foreign aid strengthens the global economy
While it may be typical to consider money lost when assisting with foreign aid, there is money to be gained as well. An educated, food-secure and healthy population is much more likely to participate in the world economy than a population that is not. And a population that is participating in the world’s economy is something the United States can benefit from.
3. Foreign aid helps the with trade
Foreign aid is an investment – it helps to create the foundation needed for developing countries to build up and become workable states. According to Professor Perkins, this type of foreign aid is designed to provide technical assistance to less developed countries to help them manage their economies and societies better. That promotes political stability and economic growth in those countries and that is important for the US for its own sake but it also may have some impact on US trade.
“Foreign direct investment as contrasted to foreign aid is generally more important in promoting trade than foreign aid but the latter does have some positive influence on trade,” said Perkins.
4. Foreign aid expands educational opportunities
It has been proven by research that countries receiving aid will see an increase in enrollment. UNICEF alone has helped enroll 100 million more children around the world in primary/secondary schools as of 2017. https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/education
5. Foreign aid can help the environment
Here’s how it works: foreign aid creates a diversity in energy sources. Diversification of energy sources means new jobs and resources for everyone. As the global economy grows, harmful emissions will go down.
6. Foreign aid helps with national security
Keeping stability in developing countries is crucial to preventing political issues and battles. By participating in foreign aid, the citizens of the United States can sleep a little easier knowing their countries’ security is growing.
7. Foreign aid inspires innovation
Take a leaf out of Bill Gates’s book – the Microsoft company is responsible for the startup and funding for several products that wouldn’t have been developed otherwise. The Cardiopad, a touchpad device for heart exams and a serious development in medical technology, was invented in Cameroon.
8. Foreign aid decreases terrorist attacks
Terrorist groups are more common in impoverished regions, luring people in with the promise of money, resources and comfort. If foreign aid provides those resources first, it can decrease the number of people involved in terrorist organizations.
9. Foreign aid promotes equality
It’s less common for women to have successful careers while maintaining their home lives, due to poverty and lack of education. Reducing poverty gives women access to education and healthcare, greatly improving their social independence on top of their financial situations.
10. Foreign aid inspires hope in those with little
Though some may argue it’s not the job of the United States to get involved in other countries’ affairs, it is the job of every nation to protect our world and ensure its’ success. Even a small step towards improving a developing country is what motivates these nations to keep going. Installing hope is the most effective way to keep our world moving forward.