Effectiveness of Canadian Aid (Essay Sample)
the customer requested a three-page argumentative essay on the effectiveness of Canadian overseas development assistance. I argued that Canadian aid is ineffective; a fact demonstrated by the persistence of poverty in Africa, the Americas, and some Asian countries such as Afghanistan that have received Canadian aid in the past.source..
Effectiveness of Canadian Aid
[ Date ]
Effectiveness of Canadian Aid
Aid, or Official Development Assistance has a checkered history—critics cannot wait to see it replaced with trade. Canada is a major donor, traditionally providing aid in poverty reduction, institutional strengthening and lately in security. The effectiveness of aid in attaining stated goals is a hotly debated topic. We can use the goals in the Canadian Official Development Assistance Accountability Act and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness as a rubric to gauge the effectiveness of ODA. I hold that Canadian aid is ineffective; a fact demonstrated by the persistence of poverty in Africa, the Americas, and some Asian countries such as Afghanistan that have received Canadian aid in the past. Another worrying trend is the hijacking of aid to support economic imperatives of miners in Peru, Honduras, and Colombia.
The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act was enacted in 2008, binding the responsible minister to ensure funds are invested in poverty reduction; beneficiaries are involved in program designs, and international human rights standards are maintained (Government of Canada, 2016). In addition, the Paris Declaration identified five principles which are binding to the ministry. These principles are ownership by recipient countries, alignment with national programs, harmonization with other donors, pursuit of measurable results, and mutual accountability (OECD, n.d.). These principles and edicts are held more in breach in all recipients of Canadian aid.
On reduction of poverty, Canadian ODA has failed. Though Canada (through the former CIDA) had not placed upon herself the burden of eliminating poverty in Africa, little progress has been made in reducing poverty (World Bank, 2020a). The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly pushed more people into poverty. Still, before it made its way to Africa, the absolute count of the poor in Nigeria exceeded the number in India, with India having a population six times that of Nigeria (World Bank, 2020b). In 2009, Canada removed eight poor African countries from its aid recipients list, ostensibly to focus on a few countries, begging the question whether there are different types of poverty (The National Post, 2014). It is also worth noting that countries that have made tremendous progress in poverty eradication, particularly in Asia, do not attribute any of their success to aid.
The furor over the removal of deserving African countries from the list of recipients of Canadian ODA was intensified by the inclusion of Burkina Faso, a West African francophone state with significant gold deposits, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with significant mineral resources. Despite the official spin of focus and targeting, this underscored a change from the altruistic ideals in the law to the commercialization of aid (Baranyi & Khan, 2016).
The surreptitious shift towards economic diplomacy is seen in the expanded operations in the Americas, particularly the inclusion of Peru and Colombia (MacDonald & Ruckert, 2016). Brown (2017) examines the effect of this paradigm shift on Peru, a South American country with considerable mineral resources where Canadian aid, which previously supported local indigenous communities to build their capacity to protect their lands from encroachment by miners, is now directed to the central and municipal governments, with some funds used to subsidize Canadian miners' climate protection requirements. While the government of Peru may have desired to grow revenues received from mining activities, subjugating and displacing indigenous groups from their lands to pave the way for mining is abhorrent under the OECD principles and in Canadian law.
We see similar motivations in Honduras, a Central American country with significant Canadian interests in mining, banking, and manufacturing. Aid to Honduras increased immediately after the coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya, reaching 47 million in 2012, making Honduras the second highest recipient of Canadian ODA in the region (MacDonald & Ruckert, 2016). As a result, Canada's commitment to democracy was tested and found wanting; the blight in no way abated by grants to fund electoral reform and token grants in the traditional support areas in food security and health.
On improving governance, democracy, and strengthening institutions, Canada and its partners in OECD have failed, a fact poignantly exemplified by Afghanistan, the major recipient of aid intended to strengthen governance. Canada even contributed troops to the international (or Western) effort in Afghanistan dubbed the "War on Terror" (Brown, 2016). However, this deployment - rare one for Canadian troops - failed after the USA suddenly withdrew its troops in September 2021. As a result, the Taliban quickly marched into a deserted presidential palace in Kabul.
Haiti appears to be the only country in the Americas that bucks the trend. Canada lacks significant investments in Haiti yet—Haiti is reputed to possess significant mineral resources: Gold, Copper, and Lignite, which our mining companies may be aware of. MacDonald and Ruckert, (2016) observe that aid flows to Haiti continued to grow during the term of the conservative government of Harper, a trend that has been maintained by Justin Trudeau.
We, therefore, establish that Canadian foreign aid has been a disaster. The change of focus to economic diplomacy and investment support to mining companies is against the law that directs Canadian aid to be spent on poverty reduction. In addition, the priorities pursued by Harper's government and the diplomatic bent of Trudeau fall short of the Paris Declaration, which seeks to grant agency to recipient states and communities in the identification of priorities for development assistance. Apart from the failed democratization of Afghan
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