The total amount of soft loans that India has committed in the past 14 years is about $24.2 billion, in over 60 developing countries. [...] The fact that India has loaned out capital amounting to nearly 1% of its current GDP is a clear indicator of the primacy of ‘aid’ as a diplomatic tool. “If you are seen by most people as playing a benign developmental role, then you strengthen your credentials of contributing to global good…If you want to be seen as a leader, then you must act like one,” said a senior MEA official.
Women-focused aid groups welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unapologetically feminist foreign aid policy. [...] In five years, 95 per cent of Canada’s overseas development assistance will be devoted to programs that target gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Fifty per cent of the development budget will go to sub-Saharan Africa and the amount of funding going to health and reproductive rights will double. [...] “The research shows beyond a doubt that investment in a girl’s education is the most effective investment we can make in international assistance.”
Headlines explore government campaigns to increase their countries' soft power.
German Foreign Minister pledged 3.5 million euros of extra refugee aid for the conflict-ridden state struggling to emerge from the throws of civil war. The money will be used to improve the catastrophic conditions seen in the refugee camps across the country, with systematic sexual abuse and violence reportedly widespread. In the first five months of this year, 60,000 refugees have come to Europe via Libya, a rise of 26 percent compared to the previous year. Approximately 1,700 people were killed as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from January to May 2017.
This week’s PD News headlines explored education and its impacts on public diplomacy, from female empowerment to terrorist prevention.
It was December in northern Syria and the temperature was dropping fast. U.S. special operations forces urgently needed to get blankets to their partners. They turned to a small charity run by Jim Hake, a former venture capitalist. Within eight hours, 200 blankets had arrived, paid for by Hake’s NGO, Spirit of America. [...] And Hake argues, if extremists are relying on private donations to launch terrorist attacks, why can’t private citizens in America donate money to help U.S. forces fighting them? “To prevail, we need all elements of national power — private and public,” Hake said.
Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said 16 countries had rushed relief supplies and medicine to Sri Lanka to assist more than 600,000 people who were driven away from their homes following Friday's monsoon deluge. India and Pakistan have also deployed medical teams on the ground in some of the worst-affected areas, he said. The United Nations has said it will provide water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets while the World Health Organisation will support medical teams in affected areas.
World Bank today approved a US$50 million emergency project - Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP, the Project) - to scale up the drought response and recovery effort in Somalia. Somalia is facing its worst drought in decades, with over half the population – an estimated 6.7 million people – in need of humanitarian assistance and recovery support. The Project will address the immediate needs of communities affected by the drought as well as supporting early recovery and improved resilience to future shocks.