The Politics of Aid

(This is an archived extract from the book Patterns of Power: Edition 2)

The giving of aid can be politically popular in donor countries and can, if given in the right way, help the recipients economically (  The aid can also make a positive or negative political impact on the recipients:

·      It might be used to persuade a government to behave better as a precondition for receiving aid.

·      It might undermine a government's accountability to its people by ‘letting them off the hook’ – making other countries responsible for providing people’s socio-economic rights.[1]

Aid, though, is not a long-term solution to the problems experienced by developing countries.  They can only become independent and prosperous through development of good governance and economic capability within the country.[2] 

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014                                                 

[1] Dambisa Moyo eloquently made the point that aid undermines the governments of recipient countries, in her book Dead AidThe Guardian’s review of this book, entitled 'Everybody knows it doesn't work', was published on 19 February 2009 and was available in May 2014 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/feb/19/dambisa-moyo-dead-aid-africa.

[2] Duncan Green’s book From Poverty to Power, Edition 2: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World uses case studies to describe ways in which developing countries can overcome their governance challenges – with benefits for themselves and for the world.  In May 2014, the book was downloadable from its webpage at http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/from-poverty-to-power-2nd-edition-how-active-citizens-and-effective-states-can-249411