Aid vs. Business

November 4th, 2021

If you have read our previous article, you would know that aid is not an almighty solution to help a country or region. As Aid is not free money comes from somewhere but is a support that the aid-giving country also expects some kind of benefit, there are a good side and bad side for it. However, there is a type of support that can offer things that aid cannot offer, which is business. In this article, I will compare Aid and Business in order to show the issues and features of these two different types of support.

Purpose of Aid and Business
As you can imagine, the purpose of Aid is to help poor countries or regions. Aid can be offered in different types of ways; as a way to improve the economy, literacy, infrastructure, etc. In addition, the purpose of Aid is to make any kind of benefit to the aid-giving country; the benefit can be building good foreign relations or making economic benefits. While the purpose of Aid can be diverse, the purpose of the business is very simple: to make money. Therefore, companies will not do financial loss or low-profit projects.

Issues and features of Aid and Business
Now, let's think about what are the issues and features of Aid and Business. When we look at the ability to act, Aid projects have lots of limits in the process. Even if the project is failing and they need a plan B, it is not easy to change the plan when they need approval from different institutions. Company-owned projects (Businesses) can act more flexibly in this kind of situation.
Another feature is that, while Aid cannot benefit everyone but only benefit the aid-giving countries and the government offices and officials of the aid-receiving country, anyone can benefit in businesses. Businesses also can increase skilled local workers and adjust themselves to fit the local community.
I believe that "stability" or "sustainability" is one of the most important aspects to consider when we look at a project. Aid projects usually consider stability as a goal, but there are a lot of hurdles for it. They need to make sure that the local workers can take over outside experts’ jobs, and the money will not run out. In contrast, businesses do not aim for stability as their goals.

Japan offers lots of aid projects in other countries including Afghanistan. However, I doubt if all those projects are actually helping local people rather than Japan itself. I believe that neither Aid nor Business can offer perfect support to the country or region, and we should critically think about who is actually benefiting from the projects.