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Advantages and disadvantages of aid

Food aid in Ethiopia

Food aid in Ethiopia

Sometimes, aid can bring long-term problems as well as advantages to the recipient country. The table gives some of the arguments for and against the provision of aid to LEDCs.

Arguments for and against giving aid


Emergency aid in times of disaster saves lives.

Aid can increase the dependency of LEDCs on donor countries. Sometimes aid is not a gift, but a loan, and poor countries may struggle to repay.

Aid helps rebuild livelihoods and housing after a disaster.

Aid may not reach the people who need it most. Corruption may lead to local politicians using aid for their own means or for political gain.

Provision of medical training, medicines and equipment can improve health and standards of living.

Aid can be used to put political or economic pressure on the receiving country. The country may end up owing a donor country or organisation a favour.

Aid for agriculture can help increase food production and so improve the quality and quantity of food available.

Sometimes projects do not benefit smaller farmers and projects are often large scale.

Encouraging aid industrial development can create jobs and improve transport infrastructure.

Infrastructure projects may end up benefiting employers more than employees.

Aid can support countries in developing their natural resources and power supplies.

It may be a condition of the investment that the projects are run by foreign companies or that a proportion of the resources or profits will be sent abroad.

Projects that develop clean water and sanitation can lead to improved health and living standards.

Some development projects may lead to food and water costing more.

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