Foreign aid is money that is given by the United States government to governments of other nations. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are five categories of foreign aid: economic assistance, humanitarian aid, multilateral economic contributions, bilateral development aid, and military aid.
The U.S. provides aid to countries that are recovering from war, developing countries, and countries that are strategically important to the U.S. In 2018, the U.S. spent over $47 billion on foreign aid – about $1 billion more than in 2017. About 37% of the aid went to ten countries:
- Afghanistan ($5.94 billion)
- Israel ($3.11 billion)
- Jordan ($1.67 billion)
- Egypt ($1.23 billion)
- Iraq ($1.18 billion)
- Ethiopia ($878 million)
- Syria ($835 million)
- Kenya ($824 million)
- Nigeria ($820 million)
- South Sudan ($789 million).
There are several governmental agencies that provide foreign aid. This includes the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Energy, and the Peace Corps, just to name a few.
Many countries all over the world receive foreign aid from the United States, but there are a few that receive significant amounts. Iraq received over $5 billion in 2016, Afghanistan also receives almost $6 billion, Israel received over $3 billion, and Egypt and Jordan each received over $1 billion in aid. These countries receive a significant amount of military aid. In fact, all of Israel’s $3.1 billion was in military aid.
Other nations have received economic and development aid. Afghanistan receives more than any other nation, but countries in Africa received about 32% of U.S. aid. Nations that benefit include Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. About 31% of U.S. aid is spent in the Middle East, while 25% is spent in Asia.
Compared to other nations, the U.S. by far spends more foreign aid than anyone else. Germany is the next largest donor, but the U.S. spends over $10 billion a year more than this nation. When considering foreign aid as a percentage of GDP, the U.S. is one of the lowest spenders among all developed countries.