NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Development Aid Shrinks

June 1, 2000

America has been sending less money abroad to poorer countries recently relative to its own gross domestic product, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • U.S. development aid -- including funds doled out for strategic reasons -- will come to 0.12 percent of GDP this year, down from an average of 0.2 percent in the 1980s.
  • Moreover, both the administration's proposed budget for fiscal 2001 and Congress' own emerging plans would reduce the level to a 50-year low.
  • According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. in recent years has ranked next to last among 21 industrialized donor countries in per capita outlays.
  • The U.S. contributed $29 a year for each American, compared with a median per-capita contribution of $70.

Outlays for foreign aid have come under increasing criticism in the U.S. in recent years. Not only are substantial sums lost to waste and fraud in many recipient countries, but evidence suggests that such assistance actually undermines the development of industries and healthy markets within many developing nations, critics contend.

Source: Gene Koretz, "Uncle Sam, Global Scrooge," Business Week, June 5, 2000.

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