Many developing countries are heavily reliant on aid from developed countries; this aid may include financial help, as well as the importation of resources and humanitarian aid, which involves improving the quality of human life in affected areas.
Examples of aid programmes may be as wide-ranging as cash incentives and educational initiatives to road building and vaccination programmes.
Aid is also offered by several charitable organisations that rely on donations and volunteer work.
Emergency relief is usually offered during extremely difficult times such as following a natural disaster or a health epidemic.
Emergency aid often involves dropping aid packages which include food supplies, clean water and basic medical equipment; these packs can often prove to be life-saving.
Other examples of emergency aid may include rebuilding homes and public buildings, offering emergency medical treatment and offering clothing and shelter.
The aid controversy
Politics plays an instrumental role in foreign aid programmes and the actions of influential politicians or figures can potentially be extremely damaging for the rest of the population; this is particularly common in Africa where several political leaders have been accused of corruption; if this is the case the UN may impose sanctions and other countries may not be willing to offer aid or trade programmes with those nations.
Is aid effective?
The fundamental idea behind foreign aid is widely regarded as faultless; however, there is growing concern that the aid provided by developed nations is not reaching the people who need it the most.
Foreign aid programmes have been in place for a number of years now yet the situation, with regard to general health, sanitation and economic development, in the developing world is still dire in comparison to the developed world.
Billions of pounds have been given to developing countries, yet the speed of progress is slow; this suggests the money and resources are being mismanaged and consequently the people who really need it are not benefitting.
Many experts have also suggested that Governments of developing countries have become too dependent on foreign aid and are consequently not putting sufficient effort into developing and supporting the citizens of their nations.
Solving the problem
Many economists have suggested setting up trade agreements with developing countries in order to encourage self-sufficiency, prosperity and economic development.
Other experts in the field have suggested a system of rewarding only those nations that prove they are using the money and resources effectively; this will prevent waste and corruption and ensure that developing countries are moving in the right direction; ultimately, this system would benefit the people and reduce the need for foreign involvement in the future.