The Effects of War and Peace on Foreign Aid
Most third world countries rely on foreign aid for survival, especially from war. Social disparities and intense poverty are the characteristics of developing countries in a post war era. In such a situation, foreign aid is ideal for such a situation because it involves the transfer of capital, goods, and services from a stable country to a needy nation (Traynor, 2010). However, the nature of a country determines the type of foreign aid that should be given to assist the situation. For example, in a war situation, foreign aid can be given in the form of humanitarian assistance, food, and military support. On the other hand, foreign aid can be given to peaceful countries in terms of capital to boost its infrastructural and institutions to promote development. Foreign aid is an important process in international diplomacy but there are various schools of thought about its effectiveness. Whereas some people believe foreign aid is necessary for developing countries, others hold a contrary opinion that it is a false strategy for a nation to adapt. In this regard, a developing country provides an ideal basis to evaluate the effects of war and peace on foreign aid. This paper will use Afghanistan as a model to understand the effects of war and peace on foreign aid.
Afghanistan has endured close to 35 years of war, which has severely destroyed the economic performance of the country. The epitome of war in Afghanistan was started during the soviet invasion that created an environment for civil war. A Taliban led government followed this until 2001, which later prompted the American invasion (Katzman, 2013). As such, the war established a fragile economy that has failed to leave up to its expectations, and it has hugely relied on foreign aid. Based on the information from the World Bank, the GDP of the country has hugely been boosted by foreign aid within the last ten years (Ingram & Lockhart, 2010). However, the perennial war conditions in the country pose a threat to the process of obtaining foreign aid. The war in Afghanistan has led to political and security suspicions that make it difficult for any foreign program to be undertaken in this country.
War in a country can have a major impact to the foreign aid situation of that particular nation. In the context of Afghanistan, the presence of war forced its economy to be dependent of foreign assistance because of increased poverty and an unstable political cohesion (Azem, 2013). The advantage of war is that it creates a situation that requires foreign assistance. For example, the civil war in this particular country severely affected the economy of the country and this prompted foreigners to come to its aid. In the absence of war, it is difficult for a country to obtain foreign assistance. Therefore, the Afghanistan nationals have benefitted from the foreign aid through poverty alleviations programs that have been initiated in the country (Ingram & Lockhart, 2010). On the other hand, the presence of peace can be an impediment to obtain foreign aid. War in Afghanistan has led to the killing of many civilians until the American invasion to end the Taliban rule. However, once the country achieved a relatively peaceful transition, the citizens have opposed any military aid into the country. In addition, peace contributes to an increased inflow of foreign aid from different international countries.
The presence of war in a country does not serve to promote its fundamental process, but it leads to another dimension in the political and social structure of the society. The war compromised the economic growth of the country to an extend that it only relied on foreign assistance. In this particular case, the war in Afghanistan increased the level of insecurity and instability within the jurisdiction of the country. Further, this situation has established another dimension of bad governance and increased corruption within the leaders in government. As a result, foreign aid has to be deployed to the country to assist in the transition process. For example, NATO had to use five stages to return the security control mechanism to Afghanistan forces, which would otherwise have been done at once (Traynor, 2010). The presence of war restricts the ability of a country to have complete internal governance. For example, in the case of Afghanistan, the American army was deployed to the country to provide security until the country was stable. Contrarily, the presence of peace restricts the inflow of foreign aid to a developing country because the economy is stable.
The major problems that were created by war in Afghanistan are lack of political cohesion, poverty, and insecurity (Hogg et al., 2013). The first phase of the foreign aid was to provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens who had been faced with a lot of poverty. As a result, accessing food was a major problem because the agricultural sector had deteriorated. After the invasion of Afghanistan, the insecurity problem was combated and the Taliban were ousted (Jayshree, 2013). As an economic development initiative, the government has embarked on various projects that would improve the economy and promote security. For example, the government established its first democratic election in 2009 to elect a legitimate government. This was a strategy developed to ensure that political cohesion has been improved in the country. As such, this has enabled the government to enact laws that are particular in ensuring that the security of the country is at stake. Another area that the government has considerably focused is in the policies regarding the security situation. A substantial amount of money is allocated for security issues from both internal sources and foreign aid to ensure that the country has a concrete security base. This is important because it will establish an environment for investors to come and promote economic activities. In the end, this will create more job opportunities for the citizens, promote agriculture, and improve the GDP (Khalid, 2013).
The presence of donor funding has substantially reduced poverty and insecurity issues. According to Salih (2013), the nation is experiencing “the most advanced, most democratic, most secure, and most prosperous era in the last 35 years of its modern history” (12). This has promoted the growth of fundamental sectors of the economy like agriculture and the services industry. In addition, the economic growth and peace stability in the country have resulted in increased foreign aid assistance. Although the foreign aid has improved the condition of Afghanistan, various problems are a threat to the government. For example, the government is experiencing a problem in providing housing, medical care and good infrastructure, which can be a trigger for another war in the near future (Azem, 2013). For example, the unemployment rate has increased over the last few years from 9-15% for three years since 2009 (Claudia & Omar, 2013). Therefore, foreign aid is not an effective long-term measure of promoting peace and economic development in a country
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