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Role of Wealthy Countries in International Development Synthesis Essay

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2019

Wealthy countries contribute greatly towards international development through giving financial aid to least-industrialized states. Underdeveloped and developing countries use financial aid from wealthy countries to build infrastructures that grow their economies through development of important sectors such as education and health (Chatrna 1).

In addition, international aid helps alleviate poverty, improve social cohesion and international relations, advance global economy, and promote realization of human rights (Lancaster 35).

However, controversy exists as to whether aid should be limited to countries that uphold and protect human rights. Proponents argue that aid should be given to countries that protect and uphold human rights.

On the other hand, opponents argue that aid should be given to any needy country regardless of poor records of human rights in that country.

Countries with poor human rights should receive aid because denying it will increase suffering and misery, and will direct focus to records of donor countries that support oppressive regimes.

International aid plays pivotal role in development of poor countries around the globe. It promotes political, social, economic, environmental, and political development in recipient countries.

However, research has shown that international aid presents several limitations to recipient countries. For example, China and the United Sates expect recipient countries to use a large portion of financial aid to purchase products and professional services from them (Lancaster 38).

This promotes relations and trade between countries. International aid helps many developing countries improve their poor infrastructures (Chatrna 5). However, donor countries are the beneficiaries of contracts that involve development of infrastructure in impoverished countries.

International aid also alleviates poverty. In 2002, presidents of rich countries participated in the United Nations Conference for Financing and Development that focused on welfare of poor countries.

At the conference, more than fifty heads of state agreed to eradicate poverty, promote global economic growth, and support development in impoverished countries.

In addition, they agreed that wealthy nations would donate 0.7% of their Gross National Product to poor countries to fulfill the goals of the conference.

One form of international aid is the official development assistance (ODA). It plays an important role because it enhances development of countries that lack ability to attract international investors. As of 2009, only 5 rich countries had managed to donate 0.7% of their GDP to poor countries.

In 2005, Jeffrey Sachs argued that international aid could alleviate poverty in Africa if it was doubled. Sachs argued that poor countries could alleviate poverty by using international aid to invest in health, technology, education, and infrastructure (Lancaster 43).

This would increase worker productivity and as a result attract more foreign aid and create additional wealth.

He further argued that this would create a cycle of prosperity in which wealth created would be invested in the country’s economy to create additional wealth until poverty is eradicated (Lancaster 44).

Despite a raging debate as to whether countries with poor records of human rights should receive aid, nations accused of violating human rights violations continue to receive international aid. It would be unfair for rich countries to deny aid to countries with records of poor human rights.

First, cutting aid would increase suffering and misery. Many poor countries have limited resources that cannot alleviate poverty. For example, international aid was denied to Zimbabwe, Libya, and Iraq.

However, leaders continued to enrich themselves through severe violation of human rights and misappropriation of national resources. Citizens continued to wallow in poverty while the world watched.

An alternative to denying aid could include imposing international sanctions that target leaders of countries with cases of human rights violations.

Libya, Zimbabwe, and Libya have weak populations that cannot survive without aid. Therefore, denying poor countries aid at the expense of corrupt leaders increases suffering and poverty.

International aid is given to poor countries for humanitarian support, education funding, health care programs, and promotion of human rights (Chatrna 6).

Donor countries should avoid funding activities that directly benefit oppressive regimes and instead increase funding for activities that directly benefit the populace (Smith par2).

For example, Indonesian national police, Detachment 88 is a beneficiary of international aid from Australia and the United States government.

The police force has been accused of severe human rights violations. A political prisoner, Yusuf Sipakoly accused Detachment 88 of human rights violations (Smith par4). Promotion of human rights is an important aspect of any nation’s growth and development.

However, tying it to international aid is inappropriate. Leaders who aim at amassing wealth and power perpetrate human rights violations. Therefore, it is unfair to deny aid to countries ruled by such leaders because people continue to suffer at the expense of heinous actions of leaders.

Donor countries should target such leaders. A report by The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) revealed that if the United States denied aid to certain African countries, it would increase suffering. 276, 500 people would not receive treatment for HIV/AIDS thus contributing to more deaths, 88,000 TB patients would not receive treatment, Malaria would cause more than 6,000 deaths, and more than 3.6 million people would not be treated for Malaria (Lancaster 65).

International aid should not be linked to protection of human rights but to needs of poor people who have no means of improving their lives.

Therefore, donor countries should find ways to help poor people in impoverished countries especially those who face human rights violations (Smith par5). Denying aid to countries with poor records of human rights will focus attention on records of donor countries.

Many rich nations that aid impoverished countries are associated with regimes that perpetuate human rights violations. For example, the Iraq war funded by the United States was characterized by gross human rights violations.

In addition, the United States funded Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war that resulted in many deaths and displacement of innocent people. On the other hand, Australia funds the Indonesian police force, that has been accused of violating human rights in the country.

The United States trades with rich countries such as China and Saudi Arabia that have been accused of human rights violations. If rich countries deny aid to countries with records of poor human rights, they should also end relations with rich countries accused of violating human rights.

Human rights violations are present in all countries though in different degrees. Therefore, denying aid to countries with poor records of human rights would be ironical and ridiculous. Rich countries should use aid to leverage and promote human rights in recipient countries (Chatrna 4).

Aid is one of the ways of creating relations between countries. Stringent actions such as withdrawal of aid should be executed when oppression and human rights violation reach intolerable levels. Aid withdrawal is considered a way of pushing oppressive governments to bring change.

However, it has increased suffering in many countries. For example, Madagascar’s poverty worsened when donors withdrew aid due to accusations of human rights violations (Smith par5). Before 2009, international aid contributed 70% of Madagascar’s annual government budget.

The effects of aid withdrawal are severe. 45% of its citizens lack access to clean water, school enrolment has decreased, 60% of the population lack access to toilets, and 25% of the population dose not sleep on beds (Smith par7).

Poverty has increased, revealing the great role played by international aid in poor countries.

In conclusion, international aid plays a pivotal role in promoting development in poor countries. It funds education, health care, and improves relations between countries.

In addition, it promotes political, social, and economic development. Human aid should be given to countries with records of poor human rights because of two main reasons.

First, denying aid will increase problems experienced by recipient countries.

Second, denying aid will focus attention on records of donor countries. It would be ironical for rich countries to withdraw aid from countries with records of poor human rights because they support governments that promote the vice.

Evidence considered has revealed that the United States and Australia have in the past supported regimes that have been accused of violating human rights. For example, Australia funds the Indonesian police force that has been accused of gross human rights violations.

Instead, rich countries should use aid to promote and leverage human rights in countries that do not uphold them.

Works Cited

Chatrna, Diana. The effect of foreign aid on economic growth in developing countries, Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies 3.10 (2010): 1-13. Print.

Lancaster, Carol. Foreign aid: diplomacy, development, domestic politics. New York: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Print.

Smith, Alex. 7 June. 2011. Web.

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