COLUMN: Developing nations need trade not aid

Stephen Crosby.
Stephen Crosby.

Did you know that the UK gives China £3 million of foreign aid to help them promote football?

Meanwhile, Shanghai Shenhua is paying Carlos Tevez £615,000 a week.

It is estimated that this £3m would pay for meals on wheels for 800,000 elderly people in the UK at a time when the social care budget is suffering from severe cuts.

British foreign aid spending is doing nothing to help the economic or political freedoms of people in the countries who receive the cash. One of the most frequent criticisms of foreign aid is how it fuels corruption in the countries that receive it. Money which the UK government markets to the electorate as being destined to help the destitute in the Third World actually ends up creating and supporting bloated and unnecessary bureaucracies in the form of both the developing country’s government and the donor-funded NGOs.

The significant burden of debt in less developed countries have often occurred as a result of the foreign aid packages pushed by wealthier countries and pursued by corrupt and greedy politicians and business people in recipient countries. Most people don’t realise that loans are usually embedded n aid packages, either directly or as a condition of foreign aid donations being given in the first place.

As aid flows in, citizens of the developing country effectively become helpless as increasingly all their government needs to do to stay in power is to court and cater to foreign donors. Such governments have less of a need to raise taxes, and as long as they pay their army and security they can be relatively relaxed about the views and opinions of their disgruntled people.

Foreign aid has largely encouraged Third World governments and their populations to rely on hand-outs instead of on themselves for development. Foreign aid has a tendency to create poverty through economic institutions which block the incentives and opportunities of poor people in order to make things better for themselves, their neighbours and their country.

Foreign aid fails to stimulate trade and wealth creation; there should be a focus of foreign assistance to shift from aid to enterprise, from poverty alleviation to wealth creation, from handouts to investments, from seeing the poor as consumers or burdens to seeing them as creators and from encouraging dependency to integrating the poor into networks of productivity and exchange.

The popular understanding of international assistance programmes is that they deliver immediate needed disaster relief, or enhance the well-being of people through economic development. Surely we should change the focus of our nation on trade not aid, and the money reserved for Western governments’ foreign aid budgets should be put back into the pocket of the Western taxpayer, thus

leaving less developed countries free from the harmful effect of foreign aid and allowing more capital to be accumulated by those in the West who produce goods and services and who are better able to enter into mutually beneficial trading relationships with the Third World.

UKIP’s foreign aid policy is very simple; we will ensure that our aid is concentrated on life-saving programmes, inoculation, clean water and emergency disaster relief. Once we are finally free of the EU’s protectionism, which has adversely affected international development, the UK will be better placed to help the world’s poorest people by giving them free access to the British market. We have a foreign aid budget which at the moment is costing the British people £30 million every single day, UKIP believes that this funding should be reduced and that additional money should be put into our NHS, social care and flood prevention within the UK.