Apoorva Shah: US Should Aid Nations That Help Themselves

The U.S. government should trim its aid partner nations and focus its foreign assistance on countries that make a conscious effort to reform their governance, an expert notes.

The current U.S. aid apparatus is “impotent” in helping to promote prosperity among poor nations, says Apoorva Shah, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The path to prosperity, Shah notes, begins when countries decide for themselves to improve their governance, citing Georgia as an example.

Years before it received aid from the U.S. government-run Millennium Challenge Corp., Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said his nation made a conscious effort to reform governance and become a meritocracy,  Shah explains in a piece published in “The American,” the journal of the American Enterprise Institute.

To help change the mindsets of poor countries and encourage them to take hold of their own development, Shah notes U.S. must “lead by example.”

“Why not, then, lead by example, support those who choose to follow our (U.S.) lead, and keep a rainy day fund for emergency and humanitarian assistance with an aid budget half what it is today? It is certainly possible,” Shah suggests.

Shah notes: “[U]ntil the countries we desire to see prosper change their own worldview, most U.S. foreign aid will continue to be money down the proverbial rat hole.”

Read more about U.S. development aid.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.