The Trump Administration and Foreign Aid

Concerns that the Trump administration will dramatically cut foreign aid and withdraw from global development has many in the aid community on edge. Some fear that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with its $27.2 million annual budget, will be abolished completely, or diminished and folded into the State Department (The Guardian).

As Foreign Policy noted in November, “The United States is the biggest aid donor in the world, representing about 24 percent of development assistance from major governments in 2014. Washington’s decisions on foreign assistance have a far-reaching effect that influences how much other governments are willing to contribute to development projects around the world aimed at reducing poverty, promoting public health, bolstering stability, and countering terrorism.” Trump’s “America First” policy seems unlikely to dedicate anywhere near the $37.9 billion to foreign assistance that the Obama administration allocated in 2016.

In Afghanistan, many fear that a complete withdrawal of support from the United States will create an even more volatile security situation.

From a positive standpoint, the private sector has become a reliable partner and funder to aid organizations around the world. Some business leaders have expressed their intentions to pick up where government leaves off. And private funding could certainly have a positive effect on development projects on the whole; private sector methods for implementation could serve as a model for government-funded programming.