Foreign aid: Where is all the money going?

If you were to guess how much of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid, what would you guess? The answer may surprise you. Although most Americans believe foreign aid takes up about 25 percent of the budget, we actually spend less than 1 percent!

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According to USAID’s beautifully designed infographic, “Foreign Aid Spending,” this money goes to more than 100 developing countries around the world and contributes to efforts such as operating costs, humanitarian assistance, economic growth, peace and security, and governing justly.

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As you can see from the chart, a little goes a long way: in 2009, USAID responded to 57 disasters in 46 countries, helped 2 million rural households with their agricultural output, helped eliminate over 460,000 acres of illicit narcotics, encouraged transparency in 61 countries and helped increase literacy rates by 33 percent, contributing to the tripling of primary school enrollment worldwide over the past 25 years.

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Take a look at the whole graph on USAID’s website and learn more about our foreign budget. As Congress debates how to shape this year’s budget, we hope they don’t cut key programs that fight HIV/AIDS, hunger and preventable disease. It’s been proven that these programs make a huge impact, are cost-effective and most importantly, much needed.