-Biranchi Poudyal

Sovereignty is an imperative feature to evaluate western strategies towards other nations. The aid relationship is an illustration of the decreasing importance of sovereignty because it indicates the disparity between aid practices amongst developed and developing nations. Of course, Nepal is no exception in this phenomenon. Our government has received foreign aid commitment, worth Rs 222.74 billion, from various development partners, only during the first ten months of 2016-17 fiscal year.

Based on practical understanding, the cause and effect of foreign aid in sovereign state can lead to various conclusions. Firstly the low economic development forces a nation to rely on foreign aid firms, and bilateral and multilateral donor. This will ultimately trigger foreign influence, right under the nose of the sovereign. The magnitude of influence can be linked with the rigorous stipulations enforced on the aid-beneficiary countries. Foreign aid, obviously, benefits the receiving county in some ways, however, the donors also gain many long term benefits.

There are two basis by which foreign aid in sovereign state can be explained:

  • What grand motives influence the donors to open an avenue for easy aid
  • How the relevance of state sovereignty is shrinking through aid dependency

When it comes to the case of the financial position of donor states, in comparison to the dependent condition of the developing states, the concept of sovereignty based on equilibrium still remains under question. According to a World Bank study, foreign aid roughly covers 70% of national incomes in Africa. This very well may indicate that the government and the administrations are likely to be compromised; they will fail to act accordingly with their sovereign interest. Issues connected to sovereignty and foreign aid are multifaceted – on one hand, aid encourages dependency and functions within an agenda of complex or unequal power relations. On the other hand, it is a major source of income, funding multitude humanitarian efforts.

Moreover, the debt burdens of developing nations are usually sustained by intentional reciprocity between the donors are receivers. Aids are received in packages, granted by richer countries and international institutions. It is handed over to corrupt politicians and welfare agencies in the receiving nation. One of the biggest arguments of the opponents of foreign aid is that aid encourages rampant corruption while perpetuating a vicious circle of red-tape in the receiving nation. The financial circumstances have obligated aid bureaucracies to construct an unproductive system of analysis that measures the output in term of money expended, rather than the service delivered.

Most importantly, foreign aid will completely discourage the productivity of a society, as it will undermine the motivation of communities to progress through collaboration and creativity.

At a glance, the larger economy, based on foreign aid means an addiction and dependency for the developing countries. On a critical discourse, the gullible idea of poverty alleviation, and development led by assistance and foreign aid seems apocalyptic. It is clearly a different face of the systematic Western imperialism, which could ultimately reinvite the same historical doom, but in a new form.

Mr. Poudyal is currently pursuing Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu

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