Providing Aid Hurts Recipient Countries’ Local Businesses Too

Do you think the United States should cut off aid to the Middle East? PITAPOLICY Founder Mehrunisa Qayyum explores this issue further, building on her September 25th post Cutting Off Aid to Arab World Hurts U.S. Business, in response to the first round of feedback on the implications of cutting off aid to the Middle East.  What do YOU think?  What impact would this have on local businesses and Arab country economies? 

Providing Aid Hurts Recipient Countries’ Local Businesses Too

Two weeks ago I posted how cutting U.S. aid to the Arab world would hurt U.S. businesses. What followed was a series of tweets by Khaled Beydoun and Sana Saeed (tweeting as @legyptian and @SanaSaeed respectively) who pushed back on a related point:

@legyptian tweets: @pitapolicy @SanaSaeed So, I don’t get it, are you advocating that the rights of US biz interests trump local Arab ones?

As another blogger shared, “So what, development aid to the Arab world hurts local Arab businesses!” I agree because this point extends to other recipient countries’ local businesses too.

Development aid has received much pushback — so much so that the U.S. Agency for International Development has shrunk in size and in its role, according to a recent GAO report. Conversely, the broader category of U.S. economic assistance through technical assistance and such has grown via other institutions — like the U.S. State, Treasury and Defense Departments.

@SanaSaeed ‏tweets: @pitapolicy @legyptian Not explicitly but that’s an implication, however unintentional, no?

My humanitarian answer to both Khaled’s and Sana’s question is: “No, I’m not advocating that the rights of U.S. business interests trump local Arab ones if I’m arguing from a poverty alleviation standpoint. However, as someone who used to review American interests in the legislative branch: Yes, I would have advocated development aid to propel U.S. business interests in the short to medium term. In the long term, I would have had to adjust my answer because we would have observed the long-term consequences would have fueled Anti-American sentiment — which ultimately hurts U.S. business interests.

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Filed under Analysis, PIDE (Policy, International Development & Economics)

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