The Indian government recently announced plans to set up a central foreign aid agency in the form of USAID or the UK’s DFID. Likely called the Indian Agency for Partnership in Development, it will manage over $11 billion in aid transfers to countries like Burma and Bangladesh over the next five to seven years.
It may seem strange that a country with more people in poverty than all of Sub-Saharan Africa now has an official apparatus to disburse development aid to other poor countries. Shouldn’t this money be used to fix social problems at home?
But that’s not the point of this agency. In fact, the announcement helps to prove something that the so-called “development community” still doesn’t understand: aid isn’t and has never really been about development.
Aid is a political and diplomatic tool, something that India wants to use to project more influence toward its poorer South Asian neighbors as well as other countries in Africa and Asia. This annoys the development experts in multi-national organizations and NGOs, who with the best of intentions, believe that aid money can catalyze actual development.Read more at the Enterprise Blog.