like bismark says, foreign aid can have all the best intentions, but if you are sending it to the wrong places or it is not getting to those who need it, then aid becomes more a political tool for receiving support at home.
In an ideal case, foreign aid would attempt to put a nation (or region, or whatever) in a position in which they can 'develop' for themselves.
In truth, for many cases, foreign aid is the equivolent of helping someone get by paycheck-to-paycheck. All while our environmental and regulatory regimes discriminate the person enough to keep them from achieving too much success too quickly. If that makes sense...
Foreign aid is a product and luxury of developed nations, it makes a good soundbite. Its ironic that the same places that foreign aid goes to, are the same places that we refuse to fully open our economic borders to because of things like their use of coal and weak energy policies.