What is foreign aid and what is the goal of foreign aid?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Foreign aid is money or in-kind aid that is given by one country to another country.  There is no one single goal for foreign aid.  Different people and different groups have different motives for promoting the distribution of aid to foreign countries.  Let us look at the two main goals.

First, many people think we should give foreign aid for humanitarian reasons.  In other words, the point of the aid is to be nice to people who are less fortunate than ourselves.  We feel that we should help people when their country experiences a famine simply because we do not want them to starve when we have the ability to help them.  We feel that we should give aid to help reduce AIDS in Africa, for example, because we hate to think about how many people are affected by that disease.

However, there are also those who give foreign aid for much more pragmatic purposes.  To these people, the purpose of aid is to enhance the power of our country.  If we give aid to people in Pakistan, for example, we can hope that they will be more likely to have good feelings about the United States.  This will make us safer.  If we give money to other countries, they are more likely to support our foreign policy.  This gives us more power.

Thus, there are at least two main purposes for giving foreign aid.