Like political campaign contributions, today’s self-interested foreign aid often supports badly-designed development projects, imposes foreign investor-friendly policies on recipient countries, facilitates access to intended beneficiaries’ resources, helps aid-giving countries to look good on the world stage, all the while making unquestioning taxpayers in aid giving countries feel good about their supposed generosity.
The Tax Justice Network’s 2018 Financial Secrecy Index says Canada’s financial system is less transparent than that of notorious tax havens and countries often portrayed as corrupt by the mainstream media, such as China, Russia and Kenya.
The Red Cross forced Gerald Anderson to resign from his position as head of the global charity’s half-billion-dollar response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake after concluding that he’d sexually harassed at least one subordinate, and then helped him secure a high-paying job with Save the Children.
Women’s NGOs play crucial roles in development projects in numerous developing countries. A study conducted by Dr. Bipasha Baruah, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues, at Western University, and Dr. Kate Grantham, Research Associate, International Development, at McGill University, found that women NGOs in India and Tanzania “were easily marginalized and trivialized” once the projects they would have initiated got off the ground.
The Canada Revenue Agency has suspended the controversial Harper-era auditing of Canadian charities’ political activities. But some targeted organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a respected left-leaning think-tank, still await closure on their audit.
Some critics argue that the neo-liberal policies advanced by powerful non-governmental organizations, NGOs, limit states’ influence and sovereignty while benefiting NGOs. In Africa, NGOs also place Africans at the mercy of donors.