The majority of America wonders this question, especially with the debates going on in Congress regarding budget cuts. Have there really been any global successes of foreign aid? Should we cut the US foreign aid budget? Would this help the economy?
The answer to the latter questions are NO! Foreign aid has produced amazing successes globally, improving the lives of those abroad and here at home in the US! Cutting aid is not the most beneficial route to economic stability.
Just look at the data!
- During the 1990's hunger was cut in half in China
- Investments in better seeds and sustainable agricultural practices have helped feed an extra 1 billion people in a short two years
- In 2008, the WFP purchases 552,000 tons of food, which is the equivalent of giving 2.75 million people enough food for a year
- The life expectancy of those in the developing world has increased by 33% from 45 years to 59.
- Smallpox has been eradicated
- Over the past 50 years infant and child death rates have been reduced by 50% in the developing world
- Literacy rates are up 33% worldwide in the last 25 years
- Primary school enrollment has tripled
- More children go to school than ever before in history
- Since 1990, 800 million people have gained access to improved water
- Since 1990, 750 million people have access to improved sanitation
As people rise out of poverty, they become consumers of US products, boosting the US economy. Between, 1990 and 1993, US exports to developing countries increased by $46 billion. Today, 40% of US exports go to developing countries.
Overall, health conditions have improved in this time period more than any other in human history. Especially, thanks to USAID immunization programs, which save 3 million lives each year.
With such amazing improvements coming from less than 1% of our overall budget, how can the US even consider cutting foreign aid?