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development aid harmful handout or helpful hand up Prolonged conflict, natural disasters and poor governance are among the obstacles that continue to keep billions of people around the world poor, hungry and living without access to basic amenities such as clean water and electricity.

The United States is among several industrialized nations that provide financial aid to struggling economies in an effort to help stimulate and sustain development. But according to numerous polls, most Americans believe the country spends far too much on foreign aid and many question whether such assistance does more harm than good by creating dependency abroad and depleting resources that could help fix problems at home. Agency for International Development, is keen to bust the myths about foreign aid. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith welcomes guests to the White House Summit on Global Development in Washington, hosted by President Obama on July 20, 2016. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith welcomes guests to the White House Summit on Global Development in Washington, hosted by President Obama on July 20, 2016. (Ellie Van Houtte / United States Agency for International Development) "First, it's less than 1%" of the federal budget, Smith told The Times in a recent interview. "Second the American people provide billions of dollars on their own every year. Third, it's a really important investment for us." Her additional comments have been edited for length and clarity. Why should Americans support foreign aid? I think a lot of people can make a national security argument, that if we have a world that is more stable, where countries and societies and communities are developed, where people have access to opportunity, can go to school, can get healthcare, work, [that gives us] better and more able partners with whom we can [work to] deal with some of the threats facing the world. plane in 2008 at the Yangon International airport. plane in 2008 at the Yangon International airport. (Sergent Andres Alcaraz / AFP/Getty Images) But we can also see some of the opportunities. There's a clear interest in peace and stability and the kind of peace and stability that development brings. We are always searching for new markets that we can buy from [and] sell to. And some of the biggest, fastest emerging markets are in the developing world. So we have an economic interest in having partners with whom we can trade and engage economically. I think the third reason is a values reason. Every time there's an earthquake, a crisis, the American diamond ring pandora charm people are extraordinary in terms of how much they contribute. I think part of what that does is [show that] together we are saying to the rest of the world, if you're gold pandora bracelet price in trouble, America's the country that comes to your rescue. How can foreign aid help stop terrorism? I think it can play a role, but I don't think it's as simple as, if we provide more foreign aid terrorism will stop. I think that if you look at those places in the world where you've got transnational threats terrorism, human trafficking, money laundering, all those dangerous things that spill across borders most often they are able to flourish in countries where people either don't have access to opportunity or don't have equal access to opportunity. So I think that by investing resources in not only the well being of people but their ability to inform the decisions of their daily lives, their ability to have kids who are healthy enough to go to school so that each generation is able to do better and better over time that protects us, and them, from these shop pandora bracelets online types of transnational threats. How do you respond to those who criticize direct aid to foreign governments? This is another case where I think the presumption of people is that the way we manage our foreign assistance is to write very big checks to governments. We give very, very little of our assistance directly to governments. We often work in partnership with governments, but we work either through international or local pandora charm search partners. Where it goes directly to governments, we do all sorts of due diligence to make sure they manage their finances transparently. What we also do is evaluations [of projects]. The purpose is to genuinely take look and say, are we achieving the outcome we anticipated? And if not, what do we need to do to course correct? Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images A shepherd watches his cows in June 2016 in the bush near Bouake, central Ivory Coast. According to specialists gathered in Abidjan, trade of cattle increased by nearly 20% in West Africa and represents an important source of income, ensuring food security for millions. A shepherd watches his cows in June 2016 in the bush near Bouake, central Ivory Coast. According to specialists gathered in Abidjan, trade of cattle increased by nearly 20% in West Africa and represents an important source of income, ensuring food security for millions. (Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images) Where do you see progress and how do you measure success? I think you measure it in different ways and some things you can measure quantitatively.

If you look at health for example, we can measure the fact that we have improved nutrition for 18 million kids through the work we're doing a combination of our food security and global health work. We can measure that there are over 4.5 million kids alive today because of work in maternal child health that we've done.


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