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Aid is given by donor countries to recipient countries to help their development,or help them recover from a natural disaster.


The aid takes many forms and can be given on a large scale or small scale. Large scale aid is called top-down aid as it is usually given to the government of the developing country so that they can spend it on the projects that they need.

Unfortunately this can lead to the mis-use of aid money by unscrupulous governments. Aid from developing country governments tends to be given as top-down aid.

Small scale aid projects are called bottom-up aid. These target the people most in need of the aid and help them directly, without any government interference. Aid from charities tends to be bottom-up aid.

There are five main types of aid that can be given to developing countries, and these are outlined below:

Bilateral Aid:See conditional aid.

Charities (Non-Governmental Organisations): Charities such as Oxfam, Comic Relief and Save the Children raise huge amounts of money for projects in developing countries. They mainly get their money from the general publics generosity, however they also receive government grants.

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The charities tend to target small scale community-based projects to fund. They realise that in this way their money is going directly to the people who most need it.

The charities are also the ones who often are quickest on the scene with short term aid after a natural disaster such as a famine or flood.

Conditional Aid: Conditional aid is given by a donor country (MEDC) to a receptor country (LEDC) to finance projects in that country. In return the receptor country usually has to agree to buy other products from the from the donor country.

- A good example was the building of the Aswan dam in Egypt. The Russians gave the Egyptians money to help build the dam, in return for Egypt allowing them unlimited access to its airfields.


The project began in the 1950's and General Nassua eventually told the Russians to leave after the six day warin 1967.

- In 1994 the British Government came under fire as details of a supposed conditional aid package reached the public. The scheme involved Britain giving £234 million worth of aid to help the Malaysian Government build their Pergauhydro-electric dam scheme.

However it then emerged that this aid was linked to £1.3 billion of British defence contracts with Malaysia. Similar claims were made about defence contracts and aid money given to Indonesia.

Long-term Aid: Long term aid aims to help the country develop in the future, by introducing schemes to help things like health care, education and food production. Many of the NGO's are involved in these long term schemes, which can be large scale or small scale projects.

The main aim of the schemes is to introduce ideas and thinking that can be easily sustained by the local community, with only the help of the NGO to set them up in the first place.

Many of the schemes introduced by Comic Relief into countries like Burkina Faso and Ethiopia are examples of long term sustainable aid.

Multilateral Aid: This form of aid involves the developed countries giving money to central international organisations such as the World Bank and the World Health Organisation. These then decide where and when the money is going to be spent. In the case of the World Bank this money is still a loan, that will need to be paid back, whilst other organisations act more like charities.

It is this form of aid that the Brandt Report suggested each country should give 0.7% of its GNP towards. However most countries do not get close to reaching that target.

Short-term Aid: Also known as emergency aid, this is the aid that you will have seen on the news. Charities and governments send short term aid after a natural disaster to help the country recover.

Two recent examples include the famines in Africa for which food, medicine and shelters were quickly sent over to countries such as Ethiopia and Sudan. Then there were the terrible floods in Mozambique in early 2000, which led to food, medicine, clothes and shelters being sent over, as well as South African helicopters being used to pluck people from the flood waters.

Tied Aid: See conditional aid.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
Conditional Aid: The recipient country gets the money it needs for projects that will benefit the country. The donor country keeps an "economic colonial" hold over the recipient country. The donor country increases its trade and economic influence. The recipient country falls further into debt to the donor country. The projects are often large scale, where it would actually benefit the ordinary people more by using small scale community schemes. The projects are often not appropriate for the recipient country.
Multilateral Aid: Theoretically the aid comes with no ties to the donor country as it is allocated by international organisations. The real needs of the recipient country are focussed on for the aid to be targeted towards. The aid is still a loan that must be paid back, along with the interest charges on it. The aid often does not reach the people it was meant for as the government uses it for other purposes.
Non-Governmental Organisations (charities): They work on smaller community-based projects that help the people who most need it. There are no political ties. The projects use technology appropriate to the area that they are in. They rely on the generosity of the public as well as donations from governments for their funds. This means that their cash flow isn?t always guaranteed.

The main disadvantage of all forms of aid is that many developing countries have become dependent upon it for their survival.

This has led to some developing countries calling aid an "economic colonialism" where the developed countries have a tight hold over the development of the developing countries. The massive debts that many of them have only increase this dependency on aid form the developed countries.