With kind permission from Peter Rosset of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (or FoodFirst.org as it is also known), chapter 10 of World Hunger: 12 Myths, 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998) has been reproduced and posted here. Due to the length of the chapter, it has been split into sub pages on this site.
First, U.S. economic assistance is highly concentrated on a few governments. Its focus has nothing to do with poverty. Out of the 130-odd governments receiving U.S. bilateral economic assistance in the mid-1990s,9 just 15 countries got over half of the total (see table). Israel and Egypt-representing U.S. geopolitical interests-together got almost one-third. The world’s 10 poorest countries-most of them in Africa-received less than 5 percent of all U.S. bilateral economic assistance in fiscal year 1994.10 Despite widespread poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, only two of the top ten recipients, South Africa and Ethiopia, are in that region, and the former is its most economically developed nation.
|Top 15 Recipients of U.S. Economic Assistance* in 1996 ($ millions)|
*Economic assistance includes development assistance, Economic Support Fund, Food Aid, Peace Corps, International Narcotics Control
Source: U.S. Agency for International Development, Congressional Presentation, Fiscal Year 1996 Request.
Lured by the opportunities of virgin markets, U.S. foreign policy and assistance have found a new target: Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, which now compete for aid with the much poorer third world countries (see table).
This article is part of the following collection:
- Myth: More US aid will help the hungry
- High concentration on a few governments
- Aid—a lever to impose Structural Adjustment on Third World
- Food aid often does not target the hungry
- Food aid forestalls development
- U.S. contributes directly to armed conflicts around the world
- "Good" aid projects obscures an uglier reality
- Even most development assistance fails the poor and hungry
- The Iceberg
- How aid could benefit the hungry
- Notes and sources for “Myth: More US aid will help the hungry”