NGOs get all the money                                    

NGOs receive less than 10% of the Australian aid budget.

A much larger proportion of Australian aid is in fact paid to private (mostly Australian) corporations[i]


“Developing countries need Trade not aid”

Trade alone is not enough to reduce poverty. Harsh free trade policies increasingly pushed on ‘developing’ countries by rich, western governments often do more harm than good.

Chronically poor communities “are often not in a position to take advantage of  economic growth[ii].  Many countries that experienced large increases in economic productivity, such as Brazil and Mexico, also experienced sharp increases in income inequality with no increase in living standards for the very poorest people.[iii] A 2007 World Food Program Survey found that every second rural child in Lao PDR was chronically malnourished and that there had been no improvements in this chronic malnutrition over the past 10 years[iv] despite strong GDP growth in that period (4-7% per year[v]) . The experience of Pacific Island communities further challenges the much repeated mantra that ‘growth is good’. According to Tim Anderson:

“The orthodox economic argument for policies aimed at ‘broad based growth’ (the benefits of which are said to ‘trickle down’) is particularly thin in PNG, a food rich country with a huge subsistence sector. If subsistence farming is displaced by corporate industries which do not both outweigh the value of subsistence production and evenly distribute the benefits of that production, people will be worse off. Economic growth by itself means little in PNG.”[vi]

Export-driven global trade is also a key accelerator of global warming. Climate change will have a devastating effect on the world’s poor, particularly communities living along coastal areas.



“Aid can help Australia and poor countries at the same time”


Australian aid motivated by our own security and commercial interests has frequently ignored the needs of the poor. Two of AusAID’s largest projects during the last five years, the Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP) to Papua New Guinea and the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) were heavily motivated by Australia’s security interests in the region rather than direct poverty alleviation. Australian assistance to Iraq has also been dominated by a narrow pursuit of economic interests dealing little with the reconstruction of Iraq.[vii]

A recent IMF report also points to the influence of other interests in government aid allocation. Governments and NGOs have committed to working to meet the Millennium Development Goal on reducing infant mortality. However, an IMF investigation revealed that NGO aid favours countries with high infant mortality, where as bilateral (government) aid actually favours countries with already lower infant mortality. The IMF found that “NGO aid significantly reduces infant mortality while bilateral aid does not.” [viii]


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Last updated 12 November 2010


[i]‘Who profits from our foreign aid? Where the little known dominate’ 

Who profits from our foreign aid?: carving up the pie, where the little-known dominate

Accessed 29th October 2010

[ii] UK Department For International Development – Research for Development

[iii] Hensman, C.R, Rich Against Poor: the Reality of Aid,  Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Limited, 1975.

[iv] Lao PDR Comprehensive Food Security & Vulnerability Analysis – December, 2007, World Food Programme, Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping Branch, p13.


[v] Promotion of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency And Greenhouse Gas Abatement (PREGA) Lao PDR, May 2006, UNCAP, Green Growth, p12.


[vi] Anderson, Tim.  Australia pushing the new colonial agenda in PNG, Post Courier, PNG, 13 December

[vii] Doran,Chris. Determining their National Interests: Australia’s Economic Intervention in Iraq, AID/WATCH,

[viii] Does Foreign Aid Reduce Poverty? Empirical Evidence from Nongovernmental and Bilateral Aid – IMF Working Paper, IMF Institute, Nadia Masud and Boriana Yontcheva, 2005, p20.


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