counter argument to the single story that aid is always a good thing! But is aid always good?



What is AID?

Aid usually refers to financial assistance given by richer countries to poorer countries. There are two main types of aid, Humanitarian aid and Development aid. But I will be looking at development aid, and this aims to help a country achieve long-term sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. ( global village;2006)
Firstly, since the days of colonialism, western countries have always had an obligation to support former colonial territories in term of development. Colonial governments set up social, political and economic structures. However, after independence, the colonies were not trained how to manage and develop the resources they had. Therefore, developing counties especially Africa has gotten worse even with them receiving development aid.
In addition, the reason for this is partly because they are just given resources whose value
they do not know because they do not work for them. As humans, we mostly look
after what we value, and we mostly value what we work hard for. Similarly, why didn’t the charities teach those kids in the ads 30 years ago how to survive, be self-sufficient, etc., so they could sustain themselves without charitable assistance? (Gerald Kirangama; TED conversation; Jan 11 2012)
Unintended Consequences of Aid
Aid has been thought to have some unintended consequences such as how it supports corruption, weakens trade and places Africans into the degrading position of having to accept charity ( Wiedemann and Thielke;2005). Also, a bitter example of how development aid doesn’t really help is that  people will never stand on their own two feet.Again and again finance is hurriedly provided for one project after another, without any evidence of a convincing overall concept.
furthermore,(Cohen, Kupcu, and Khanna;2008) .” In their view aid receiving countries are in fact locked in an extreme form of dependency on the development community to perform basic state functions. The new philanthropists and the proliferation of NGOs have  literally displaced the government in countries like Botswana, Cambodia, Georgia, and Kenya, “eroding” state responsibilities as well as the community’s faith in its government’s functionality.
“Aid tends to delay the development of business in Africa, modern business. It has kept Africa behind, or Africans behind in terms of getting the confidence they need, the experience they need to take a full part in the global economy, create businesses that compete globally and succeed globally. Aid has distorted markets in Africa. So the sooner, Africa can “graduate” from its dependence on aid, the better.” (Malik Fal;2012)
In conclusion, since decades of Western aid have done little to ease suffering in Africa as the situation is worse. Is it time for the West to rethink its aid strategy? Such as long term and empowering strategies which will allow the aid receiving counties to be able to live on their own rather than depending on aid. However, there are some charities which just seem more effective at solving problems than others and other people who disagree with the idea that aid is corrupt, as they believe it is necessary to provide poorer countries with aid while they are developing, until they are able to support themselves.

  1. Global village (2006) what is aid; (accessed date;18/12/13)
  2. Gerald Kirangama (2012) Africa does not need any more aid to develop; TED conversation; Jan 11. Available at (accessed:20 December 2013)
  3. Erich Wiedemann and Thilo Thielke (2005) Too Much of a Good Thing: Choking on Aid Money in Africa: available from: (accessed 22/12/2013)
  4. Michael Cohen, Maria Figueroa Kupcu and Parag Khanna (2010): the New America Foundation; “The New Colonialists: available from (accessed 22/12/13)
  5. Poverty cure (2013) Ghanaian entrepreneur: growth hindered by foreign aid; available at (accessed 20/12/13)

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