The Politics of Aid: African Strategies for Dealing with Donors

The Politics of Aid: African Strategies for Dealing with Donors

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 019956017X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book presents an original approach to understanding the relationship between official aid agencies and aid-receiving African governments. The first part provides a challenge to the hazy official claims of aid donors that they have stopped trying to force African governments to do what 'we' think is best for 'them' and instead are now promoting African 'ownership' of the policies and projects which foreign aid supports. The authors tease out the multiple meanings of the term 'ownership', demonstrating why it became popular when it did, but also the limits to this discourse of ownership observed in aid practices. The authors set out to defend a particular vision of ownership--one that involves African governments taking back control of their development policies and priorities. Based largely on interviews with the people who do the negotiating on both sides of the aid relationship, the country case studies put the rhetoric of the new aid system to a more practical test. The authors ask how donors seek to achieve their policy objectives without being seen to push too hard, what preconditions they place on transferring authority to African governments, and what effect the constant discussions over development policy have on state institutions, democracy and political culture in recipient countries. It investigates the strategies that African states have adopted to advance their objectives in aid negotiations and how successful their efforts have been. Comparing the country experiences, it points out the conditions accounting for the varying success of eight African countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. It concludes by asking whether the conditions African countries face in aid negotiations are changing.

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regime would deal with the problem. This was not to be the case, and in 1998 Rwandan troops invaded the DRC, becoming embroiled in a war which would involve several African countries. Portrayed by the government as a security issue, alternative analyses propose multiple motives 172 Rwanda: Milking the Cow behind Rwanda’s engagement: the need to quell domestic unrest, personal and national enrichment through the exploitation of the DRC’s resources, and aspirations as a regional hegemon (see

multilayered governance alternative is a sense of why politics matters. Where official aid agencies and international financial institutions currently claim to intervene in poor countries in the name of development or in the name of the poor, they face the same criticisms as past colonial rulers: they cannot claim to be representatives of recipient country populations and they cannot be held accountable by them. The very idea that external actors can create ownership hints at the way that, in

country ownership. To date there have been few attempts to understand these interactions, and this book aims to fill the gap, showing how the existing aid system affects the capacity of aid-dependent African governments and how their development strategies are produced in the context of interactions with donors and domestic politics. This book is the first attempt, to our knowledge, to take on these two tasks in the contemporary period within a comparative framework. Most country chapters have

dependence and of donor disagreements. Finally, we compare this group of aid-dependent countries with Botswana, a country that is no longer dependent on aid, partly as a result of the negotiating strategy it has adopted over a long timeframe. Each country chapter describes the political and economic factors affecting aid negotiations before considering the strengths and weaknesses of the different strategies being adopted by recipient governments. The authors repeatedly unpack notions of

concern about the potential negative incentive effects and disruption of work allocation associated with foreign technical assistants placed in government ministries. Changes in the level of donor assistance to Ethiopia have been driven overwhelmingly by political and geopolitical considerations: the revolutions of 1974 and 1992, Ethiopia’s alignment during the Cold War, the war with Eritrea, and the events following the national elections of May 2005. These factors have largely determined the

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