FFE Magazine

Countries giving aid get reputation boost, says Research

Countries giving aid get reputation boost, says Research

Experts say donor countries gain approval ratings the more effective they give.


A new study by American and Australian professors suggests that countries that donate effectively to needy nations gain approval ratings and get a boost in global influence.


According to the researchers in their study ‘Doing Well by Doing Good: The Impact of Foreign Aid on Foreign Public Opinion,’ they found ‘compelling evidence’ that donor countries giving overseas humanitarian aid gain influence in the region. This may then lead the donor country to gain valuable strategic and economic advantages.


The researchers examined American-funded HIV and Aids projects in sub-Saharan Africa to test their hypothesis. They also compared the economic competition between America and China to see whether global public opinion of countries also has an effect on influence.


They concluded that influence is a matter of giving the right humanitarian aid: aid that appears self-serving, vague, and that supports unpopular regime do not bring positive effects to the donor country.


On the other hand, aid that is visible, long-term, targeted and effective (successful) ‘gives the best chance of influence.’


The authors said that their findings expose the diplomatic value of humanitarian aid as a tool for boosting global influence. Co-author Yusaku Horiuchi said ‘policy debates about foreign aid programmes should consider not only their efficacy in achieving direct goals, but also their value in improving the donor country’s global or regional standing.’


In addition, the authors said that the results of their study ‘may compel great powers to actually do good, and to be seen to be doing so, in order to do well in their global competition for influence.’



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