Is being against foreign aid unethical?

After 60 years of foreign aid to Africa, it feels as if the economic community at large still cannot seem to find common ground on the benefits of aid. This is a topic that has recently picked up steam again with the United States’ proposing foreign aid cuts for 2019. Often individuals are outcasted for sitting on the ‘anti-aid wagon’ but I want to make it clear that taking such a position does not reflect a lack of empathy or ethics. In fact, being ‘anti-aid’ and ‘pro-effective-charity’ is the moral high ground, as it may be the only approach that will allow Africa to achieve much needed growth.

Being against the conventional government-to-government aid model is being logical, not unethical. Foreign aid is hindering African development by fostering corruption, creating a cycle of perpetual dependency and it forces governments to be more accountable to donors than to its own citizens. It is crucial however, to distinguish foreign aid from humanitarian aid and charity work in Africa.

Of course, charities come with their own host of criticisms and that is why organizations IMG_6060such as One For The World (OFTW) have thorough charity evaluation processes to ensure they only recommend the most effective charities that have proven to make an impact in the most poverty stricken regions of Africa. OFTW charities such as Against Malaria Foundation, Give Directly, and Village Enterprise operate in these poorest regions, keeping people healthy and giving them a chance at life. Village Enterprise is particularly brilliant – they work in the industry of microfinancing to create entrepreneurship, which I believe to be key ingredient to the growth of any economy and therefore society.

Sure, charities alone will not lead to the rise of Africa, only a free economy driven by incentives will. However, effective non-distorting charities, in that they do not attempt to replace large scale public goods, certainly will contribute in forming the foundation from which a thriving economy can grow. 

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