Colombia is a developing country whose democracy has coexisted with civil war since the 1960s. Amidst the civil war, the country has been receiving foreign aid, particularly from the US, Canada and the European Union to help the developing country to relieve itself from the effects of war and also achieve peace. However, the war and peace in the country has significantly affected the distribution of foreign aid as examined in this essay.
Assess the positive and negative effects that peace and war, respectively, have on the distribution of foreign aid in the developing country that you have selected
War has had various negative impacts on the way foreign aid is distributed in Colombia. With lack of peace and stability, rebels controlled many areas in the rural parts of the country, making it difficult for communities to access foreign military aid. For instance, during the war, more than 250,000 people died as the war locked out foreign military assistance. Most people living in the rebel areas could not access basic services that foreign countries were willing to offer through military and economic aid.
After years of war, peace is slowly returning to Colombia and this peace has significantly influenced the distribution of foreign aid in the country. One positive effect of peace is that the country has received more foreign aid to help in strengthening its public institutions. According to a report by the Guardian, through an economic aid program known as Plan Colombia, the developing country received more than $7.3 billion dollars on military and economic (Huey, 2014). Most of these funds have been used to strengthen Colombia’s public institutions.
Another positive effect of peace in Colombia on foreign aid distribution is that areas that were previously under the control of rebels are now receiving public services courtesy of peace. Much of the foreign aid and assistance from the US and Canada goes to building and equipping government institutions in rebel areas to open up these areas and offer reprieve to victims of war. For example, the US initiative Peace Colombia allows the US government to work together with the local government to offer employment opportunities to former FARC rebels and their families (Huey, 2014).
Analyze the specific actions that the leadership of the selected country has taken, through the use of its foreign aid from donor nations and international lending institutions, to relieve the severe problems caused by warfare.
Foreign aid from donor nations and other lenders have helped the leadership in Colombia to relieve war and its effects on the country through various ways. According to Alsema (2016), President Juan Manuel Santos was expecting more than $3.3 billion in foreign aid to help fund the peace process in Colombia in 2016. Much of this money was coming from the US and the European Union.
However, this is not the first time that leadership of Colombia has been relying on help from donor to relieve the problems of war. In 2000, the then Colombian president Andrés Pastrana Arango began a joint initiative with the US government to help the developing country strengthen its military. This was done through Plan Colombia, an initiative that increased foreign support in containing the FARC and other paramilitary group. Through this joint initiative, Colombia’s leadership used $10 billion foreign security in 15 years to strengthen its military power, an action that forced FARC and other rebels to the negotiating table (Sosa, 2017).
Other than using foreign aid to bring peace, the leadership in Colombia has also used funds from donors to help address the social problems brought by the war. For instance, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Colombian government has worked with the private sector to help alleviate social challenges facing former rebels. The Colombian government also receives foreign aid from the US and the EU in support of the Agency of Reintegration, a program that looks into the social welfare of former combatants in terms of providing vocational training, education and employment (Sosa, 2017).
Discuss whether or not the extension of foreign aid has successfully reduced poverty and the incidence of warfare in the selected country
Foreign aid from donor countries and other international lenders has significantly reduced poverty and warfare in Colombia. A key impact of foreign assistance in bringing peace to Colombia is the historic referendum that saw the Colombians accept a peace deal with the FARC. The peace deal was as a result of US assistance and other foreign assistance in terms of military and economic aid through various programs such as Plan Colombia and Peace Colombia.
The peace also comes with reduced poverty and improved social wellbeing. According to a report by Felbab-Brown, the peace deal promises social transformation in many parts of rural Colombia in terms of building schools and other public institutions to extend services to a population that has been neglected for decades (2016). More Colombians from the rural areas can now access education and basic utilities like water and health. However, the Colombia people still feel like the paramilitaries are benefiting more than the ordinary citizens considering that ordinary Colombians have been suffering for decades. Nevertheless, the extension of foreign aid facilitates peace that continues to benefit many.
In conclusion, foreign aid has helped alleviate the effects of warfare in many war-torn countries such as Colombia. From this analysis, it is evident that the situation of war and peace has significantly affected the distribution of foreign aid in Colombia. Still, the developing country has reaped numerous benefits from the foreign aid.