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Is it better to aid countries at war or countries facing poverty?

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The reason why I chose this topic is because there are a lot of issues being caused by war. People are constantly viewing ads which ask to donate money to countries at war. Why give so much money to countries at war when you can just give it to less advantageous countries like Liberia and Afghanistan who have fallen into the poverty trap? This strikes an interesting question, should we give aid to poor countries at war? Sometimes, some poor countries could even get dragged into external conflict. They could even be at a civil war due to a bad government, with the people at one side, and the government at another. Those people are causing the civil war because of a bad government. They are either starving or on the streets with no electricity, no food and no shelter. A good example of this is a place like North Korea, where the ruler (Kim Jong-Un) lives in total luxury while the people starve on the streets. What else can the poor people do? We can’t just turn our backs on them. Why are civil wars caused? What is the cost to end poverty? I hope to answer these questions in the next section.

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Sometimes, civil wars are caused due to a bad government. For instance; the United States of America alone spends $598 billion a year on military, a number that is fast increasing. Globally, $1.7 trillion dollars is spent on military alone. The exact cost to end world poverty is $175 billion for 20 years. That adds up to a total of 3500 billion or 3.5 trillion. If we just hand out the amount used for military into ending world poverty rather than making killing machines, we can end poverty in 6 years. Add in the money spent on collateral damage, and ending world poverty isn’t so far away. The US government earns about 3.7 trillion a year from taxes and exports and that is the USA alone, and the USA is not even the richest country. We should not ask countries to just give up their money, but they should all play an active role. Ending poverty should be a global project with all countries contributing. It should not just be a privately owned company doing barely anything. Now, it will be hard, almost impossible to convince countries to give up such a large sum of their GDP, but some countries probably won’t comply for multiple reasons. I will explore this in the next section.

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What are the issues with this topic?

It will be very hard to convince so many countries to give up so much money, even it is for a good cause. The main reason being, many countries have greater need of it themselves. For example, Djibouti has yearly earnings of $586 million US Dollars. To put that into perspective, the USA earns over one trillion. To build a mile of road in Djibouti, it will cost about $10 million USD. The price is high because much of Djibouti is an urban area. Countries may also be unwilling to give up money to a cause because they will need it more for their own people. Another problem is that, people rarely get economic aid when countries are at war. It gets taken away to be used in service of the military. The military normally also would inspect the package, because there could be anything inside them, from bombs planted by the opposition, to pictures sent by anxious family. If it is a lot of money, the money might not even reach the families due to war.


A good way to convince the countries to give money towards the poverty cause is to give them an incentive. The incentive should be given to only third-world countries which need it. So no countries with economies above the trillions like the USA and China. The incentive must also be in ratio with the amount donated. So if they give one million, then the UN funds them using $75″,000. If they give 2 million, then they get $140″,000 in funding. The incentive could be funding from the UN or other countries which is given solely into improving the countries’ infrastructure, roads and building schools and hospitals. This incentive will also reduce employment rates due to the number of architects, builders and designers required to build these things. This will in turn reduce poverty even further. The people employed must be from the country requiring the incentive and should be given an education. A solution for the economic aid not reaching desperate families is, the government holds on to all packages delivered. Then they scan and store it until a better time when they can freely distribute the goods. Then they distribute the goods when the time is right. They should also use non-corrupt officers so that the economic aid won’t get pocketed.

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Your own opinion

In my opinion, I think that we should give economic aid to countries facing poverty rather than those at war. Countries at war can sometimes be in poverty. Most of the wars going on now are civil wars. Civil wars are caused either because of a bad government, or poverty. If poverty vanishes right now, most of the wars will immediately come to a conclusion. The reason being, the people who caused the civil war are deeply entrenched in poverty, if we take away that poverty from them, they won’t have any reason to fight. Out of all the conflicts going on now, 61% of them are in Africa and the poor parts of the Middle East. All of these 61% are either civil wars or political instability of some kind.


To conclude, I think that I have learnt a lot from this project. I have learnt about the effects of poverty and how devastating it can be. I learnt that poverty can even cause entire devastating wars. I have also learnt possible outcomes and learnt how to devise solutions towards the problems of war. My opinion before researching for this topic was that economic aid should be given to both countries at war and countries in poverty. I now know that poverty is one of the key factors which define war. I have learnt a lot from this topic, and it has changed me.

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