New Internationalist

The Facts

Issue 332

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Aid - Bangladesh / FACTS

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AID | BANGLADESH

[image, unknown] Aid is under fire from Left and Right, from North and South. Progressives question aid’s effects on the ground and its service to Western economic interests. Conservatives, meanwhile, have been successfully lobbying for cuts in overseas-aid budgets for two decades as part of their anti-tax, anti-welfare agenda.

Aid receivers
Listed below are the countries whose economies are most dependent on overseas aid. The majority of these top ten countries, however, reduced their dependence during the 1990s – and, overall, aid takes up half as much of the Majority World’s economy as it did in 1992.

Official aid received as % of GNP1
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The country receiving most overseas aid in cash terms is China. Six of the top ten aid-receiving countries are also in the top ten for population size. The exceptions are Egypt, Mozambique, Vietnam and Israel.

Official aid received in $ millions, 19981
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The list of countries receiving most aid per head is inevitably dominated by island states with tiny populations – what appears a small sum to the donor country can have a massive impact on a small nation. Israel is the notable exception to the tiny island state rule: it receives a massive amount of US aid for ‘strategic’ reasons.

Official aid received per capita in $, 19981

1 Cape Verde 314.9

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2 Seychelles 294.9

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3 Dominica 263.6

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4 Vanuatu 223.4

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5 Western Samoa 206.4

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6 São Tomé & Principe 199.6

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7 St Vincent & Grenadines 180.8

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8 Israel 178.5

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9 St Kitts & Nevis 160.7

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10 Antigua & Barbuda 147.6

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111 Bangladesh 10.0

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  Developing country average 7.5

Aid Givers
Aid budgets have been slashed in most Western countries in the last two decades – with the biggest cuts of all in Australia and the United States. The US now gives a pathetic one-thousandth of its gross national product in aid – compared with a UN recommended minimum of seven times that.

Official aid disbursed as % of GNP
UN recommended minimum 0.70%
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Japan overtook the US as the biggest single aid donor in cash terms in 1991, though more because of US cuts than Japanese increases.

Total official aid given, in $ millions, 19981
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Rich countries have often tended to give aid on condition that it is spent on services or materials from their own companies – giving with one hand and taking back with the other. But the argument against this ‘tied aid’ seems to be being won: much less aid now is tied than in 1981 and at the end of 2000 Britain announced it would be phasing it out altogether. Individual countries, however, buck the trend: Canada went from 61.9% of aid untied in 1993 to just 33.4% in 1997.

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[image, unknown] People
Population: 124.8 million (the world’s ninth most populous country).
Annual population growth rate:5 1.5%, down from 2.1% 1975-1998 (Majority World average 1.4%).
Urban population as % of total: 20.0%, up from 9.3% in 1975 (Global South average 39.0%, Global North 76.9%).

Economy
Economic make-up: agriculture 22.2%, industry 27.9%, services 49.9%.
Gross national product (GNP): $44.2 billion.
GNP annual growth rate:6 4.9%.
GNP per capita: $350 (India $440, Pakistan $470, rich-world average $20,900).
Military expenditure as % of GNP: 1.6%.
Health expenditure as % of GNP:7 1.6%.
Education expenditure as % of GNP:8 2.2%.

Environment
Total killed by disasters, 1980-99: 186,935.
Electricity consumption per capita in kilowatt hours: 105, up from 30 in 1980 (Majority World average 884, US 13,284, Canada 17,549).
Share of world total carbon-dioxide emissions: 0.1% (US 22.2%, Britain 2.3%, Australia 1.3%).

The official flag of Bangladesh Health
Life expectancy: 58.6, up from 44.9 in 1970-75 (Majority World average 64.4, Canada 79.1, Japan 80.0).
Infant mortality rate: 79 per 1,000 live births, down from 148 in 1970 (Pakistan 95, Aotearoa/NZ 5).
Maternal mortality rate:6 440 per 100,000 live births (India 410, US 8, Britain 7).
Infants with low birthweight:9 50%.
People with hiv/aids: 21,000, which is 0.03% of adults aged 15-49 (South average 1.18%; North 0.32%)
Annual average cigarette consumption per adult:10 237.
Doctors per 100,000 people:11 18 (South average 78; North 222).
People with no access to health services:12 26%.
People with no access to sanitation6: 57%.

Education
Adult literacy rate: 40.1% (Majority World average 72.7%).
Primary school enrolment: 75.1% (South average 85.7%; North 99.9%).
Secondary school enrolment: 21.6% (South average 60.4%; North 88.8%).

Arms
Number in armed forces: 121,000, which is 0.09% of total population (compared with US 0.51%, Britain 0.36%, Australia 0.30%, NZ 0.26%, Canada 0.19%).
Arms imports:13 $130 million.

Communications
Telephones per 1,000 people:7 3 (South average 58; North 490).
Televisions per 1,000 people:7 7 (South average 162; North 594).

Photo: Jacques Danois / UNICEF
Sources:
1 Human Development Report 2000, UNDP.
2 World Development Report 1982, World Bank.
3 DAC On-line database, OECD (www.oecd.org/dac).
4 All statistics in this section are from Human Development Report 2000, UNDP, and refer to 1998 unless otherwise footnoted.
5 1998-2015.
6 1990-98.
7 1996-98.
8 1995-97.
9 1990-97.
10 1993-97.
11 1992-95.
12 1981-93.
13 1999.


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