Global Health Justice

Phantom Aid

A large proportion of aid money ends up benefiting people and institutions of the Global North rather than the Global South. The aid funds serve the agendas of the rich donors and much of the money does not even reach its intended beneficiaries. Typically, more aid funds end up in the coffers of INGOs than to institutions in the countries to which the aid is supposedly ‘allocated.’ Moreover, as donors have moved toward funding indigenous in-country organizations, the INGOs have frequently set up local their NGO subsidiaries to be better positioned to continue receiving these funds. Instead of providing direct funds to capable ministries of health – who do the bulk of the work, funds often go to INGOs to implement donor-driven health programs that often fail to align with or meet the health needs of global communities.

May 28, 2024

Wealthy Countries Profiting from Climate Funding

By Alina Metje, GHJ Team

A recent Reuters investigation reveals that countries like Japan, France, Germany, and the United States are reaping billions in economic rewards from a global program meant to help low- and middle-income countries combat climate change. The grants and loans often come with high interest rates or binding conditions, requiring recipients to hire companies from the…


January 30, 2024

USAID’s $9.5B supply chain vision unraveled at the expense of lives worldwide and billions of dollars wasted

By Alina Metje and Henry Noble, GH Justice Team

In 2015, USAID unveiled the largest contract in its history, aimed at transforming health supply chains in lower-income countries. It has not gone according to plan. In 2017, it was clear the project was failing. During its worst quarter, only 7% of its shipments arrived at their destinations on time and in full. Project leaders scrambled as multiple…


January 27, 2024

Tim Schwab & “The Bill Gates Problem” Town Hall Seattle Podcast

By GHJ Team

Tim Schwab, author of  the recently published “The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning with the myth of the good billionaire,” headlined a Seattle Town Hall event in December 2024 sponsored by the Community Alliance for Global Justice. In this podcast of the event, Tim explains how Bill Gates’ uses his foundation as a vehicle for unaccountable…

May 15, 2023

[VIDEO] “Universities… laundromats for very wealthy people”: Anand Giridhardas

By GH Department News

Author of book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World Anand Giridharadas spoke to University of Washington Department of Global Health about his book. Below is an abridged version of the conversation. Answers have been edited for length and clarity. We encourage you to watch the entire recording of his conversation with…


September 13, 2022

[BOOKS] on Phantom Aid

By Fatima Al-Shimari

“Phantom Aid” refers to the phenomenon where foreign aid is promised but not effectively delivered, often due to corruption, mismanagement, or other systemic issues. Here are recommended books to explore the topic more:   “The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States” by Winthrop D. Jordan (1974) This seminal work offers…

March 9, 2022

Health aid vs health needs: Mismatch created by donor ‘experts’ & INGOs

By Baccini, Heinzel & Koenig-Archibugi - Intl Studies Qtrly

Baccini, Heinzel and Koenig-Archibugi demonstrate that peer influences in the networks of Global North advocates and ‘experts’ drives global health priorities that are frequently misaligned with the needs of low income country aid recipients. Their analysis attempts to quantify the degree of mismatch over time and by donor country. They found that networks of professionals…


January 25, 2022

[VIDEO] Phantom Aid: Money allocated to countries that ends up funding INGOs

By Steve Gloyd

International NGOs are expensive. They are usually run from their headquarters in expensive cities in high income countries like Washington DC, New York, Boston or Seattle, where the costs are very high compared to low-income countries. They charge overhead and indirect costs for their offices and overall organizational administration which are not related to the…


May 31, 2020

Madagascar government uncovers $830 million of previously unknown ‘aid.’

By Intl Aid Transparency Initiative

The Government of Madagascar used the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data to discover millions of dollars of spending on development and humanitarian projects in the country, that were previously unknown to them. See this 2021 report from the IATI Madagascar has a Aid Monitoring Platform (AMP), but many international organizations working in Madagascar…


August 25, 2019

Gates Foundation: Improve global health without addressing structural causes

By GHJ Team

Nicholas Kulish (NYTimes podcast/discussion) discusses how Bill Gates has defined problems and solutions to global health, avoiding structural change and protecting Big Pharma patent protections,  while burnishing his image as a global health savior: “Bill Gates is, in many ways, a representative figure…of an era where private companies have such a huge say in…

October 16, 2005

Action Aid calls out “Phantom Aid” in 2005

By Steve Gloyd

Scandal of ‘phantom’ aid money | Larry Elliott, economics editor | The Guardian 2005 27 May A 2005 Action Aid report stated that the bulk of aid money allocated was wasted, misdirected or recycled within rich countries. They estimated that 61% of aid flows were “phantom” rather than “real” – rising to almost 90% in…