Ours is a nation that has relied on foreign aid for quite some time now. We hear of millions being given to our government. Yet, for some reason unbeknownst to us, nobody examines our state of affairs. Especially owing to foreign aid itself.
Foreign aid has with it some strings attached. What those are and what they mean for us remains a mystery to a great majority of us.
But, is foreign aid really about aid?
Do nations that help poor nations like ours do it because they pity us or because they have some ulterior motives? Even better, could they help if they didn’t have something in return? Talk about gaining relative control in some sphere or over some resources. Think about modern-day colonization.
Nations like ours must always try to understand why richer nations chose to help them. They must think of the sort of future they’d have built on their own. May be it’s about time we saw the side that people don’t talk much about. The cons or the dark side of foreign aid.
According to Crystal Ayres in 20 advantages and disadvantages of foreign aid to developing countries,
“Foreign aid is sometimes offered as a political tool. Aid is never as simple as one country providing resources for another- rather, it is often highly complex political maneuver with a multitude of intertwined purposes resulting in varying degrees of impact and potentially harmful consequences.” Hyeon-Jae Seo wrote this for the Harvard International Review in 2017 regarding foreign aid.
Ever heard the mantra, ‘Nothing is for free’? This very principle applies with foreign aid. Money isn’t something that people just give out to others. Food may be given for free, but not money.
Lesotho has borne witness to this at some point with issues around U.S’s AGOA. There we saw how political foreign aid can get. Yet, interestingly, no one stopped to reflect on what could have happened if it did stop coming.
Crystal Ayres further suggests that, it is very easy for foreign aid offers to become political tools. Countries can withdraw their resources as a way to create changes that they want to see in the government. This impact can create the effect of a coup without ever setting foot in the country.
Most of us think that foreign aid creates wealth. Looking at Lesotho, can we truly be vocal about wealth existence? Historical records state at some point, out of the BOLESWA countries, Lesotho was leading in economic development.
However, with all the foreign aid that is received yearly, Lesotho has been on a downward spiral due to alleged corruption by government representatives. But with us being stuck in underdevelopment, linkages between foreign aid and wealth creation are feeble and non-existent to say the least.