Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Foreign Aid Service Partnership


The US government is set up to throw money at issues - rather than solving them! In the case of Foreign Aid, we send BILLIONS of dollars to countries - and then THEIR government squanders it, uses it for largess, or it disappears through corruption. In the end, the PEOPLE that we are trying to help end up with little or nothing, AND they resent us more and more! How can we do a better job?


It is very easy to just throw money at issues! It is much harder to do the proper Project Management to make sure that things are getting accomplished. In the case of Foreign Aid, it would be hard for government money-managers to work INSIDE the Aid country's government, making sure that money gets spent properly. This would be seen as Imperialism and violating their sovereignty. So if you can't use the "stick" then maybe we aught to use the "carrot".

Service, not cash

Instead of the government offering CASH to other countries, we should be offering SERVICES. For example, in the past we would give a country, say $50 million to build a new sewer system for a city. In the Service Partnership, we would offer to BUILD that sewer system for them (The "Service"). An Aid country would be stupid to look a gift horse in the mouth and turn down the offer! However, the issues of Imperialism and Sovereignty can bog down any implementation, so we need to get the Aid country a stake in the success of the Service.

The Local Partnership

In order to provide a service, you need to have the manpower and knowhow to make it all work. I don't see the government creating new organizations to get into this service process, so we need to involve the business community. The government would select a partner business, and pay HALF of the costs involved in building that sewer system. The selected business would pay the other half. So what's in it for the business? They get to keep what they build . . .

The Foreign Partnership

The Aid country would also be a partner. The business that will provide the service (sewer system), would hire and train locals to do much of the work. When the project is finished, the business would "own" it (i.e. can now charge usage fees), and the Aid country would own part of the business (say 49%-51%).

Pluses and minuses

There are MANY advantages to this Service Partnership:

  1. The government gets DOUBLE the value for their contribution.
  2. The people in the Aid country see us as job providers and partners, and our image is boosted.
  3. The business gets to grow at half the RISK!
  4. The Aid country gets the following:
    • A brand new sewer system for free!
    • Employment and expertise for the people - thus boosting its image.
    • A new source of income, without taxation.
  5. Elimination of the specter of "Nationalization" of the business, since the Aid country already owns part of it - and would smartly recognize that they are not the best people to run it.
  6. Elimination of corruption? It would NOT be in the Aid country's best interests to have a corrupt business. It already collects a good amount of money, so corrupting the business would give them LESS money - not more. The business owners would not want to corrupt the business - heads could roll, LITERALLY. Also, the more corruption in construction, the more the business would have to pay (its half of the government partnership).
  7. Revenue stream - The Aid country may be one that doesn't collect taxes, or is very bad at it, or very new at it, so these business revenue streams can be a godsend!


  1. People have to work together!
  2. This would take planning and execution!
  3. Governments would have to audit the process!
  4. It's not as easy as throwing money!


I see this a a win-win-win for everyone! Just the image enhancement for the government would help - it would dry up the pool of terrorists since they would have jobs at the sewage plant!

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