Part of the process of truly making development a key pillar of US foreign policy is improving the way we do it. This requires getting down to the fact about what works and what doesn’t, and dispelling misguided myths that impede that process.
To that end, John Norris of the Center for American Progress brings us “5 myths about foreign aid.” Here’s a taste:
4. Foreign governments waste the aid we give them.
During the Cold War, some foreign aid was directed to friendly dictators with little regard for their own people, such as Zaire’s President Mobutu Sese Seko. Local corruption also swallowed assistance to Haiti after 2010’s earthquake. But when aid is wasted, it’s more often a result of stateside congressional inefficiency.
For example, Congress mandates that 75 percent of all U.S. international food aid be shipped aboard U.S. flagged vessels — ships registered in the United States. A study by several researchers at Cornell University concluded that this subsidy of elite U.S. shipping companies cost American taxpayers $140 million in unnecessary transportation costs during 2006 alone.
Read the rest here.