Repository logo

The impact of foreign aid in sub-saharan Africa : problems and prospects.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



At face value, foreign aid is generally extended either to contain crises situations or promote development. In Africa, it appears that foreign aid has failed on both counts. One crucial question being asked by experts is, why has there been so little development in sub-Saharan Africa despite so much aid? Indeed, even the World Bank has admitted grudgingly that assistance programs have been either ineffectual or had very small development impact on recipient countries. This study seeks to examine foreign aid effectiveness and management. Focusing on the nature of the relationships between donors and recipients, the study argues that to foster economic development in Africa, a need exists for a transformation in aid relations away from fragmented donor-driven projects and programs to a predictable long-term support to African owned programs. The work addresses these challenges by reviewing current debates and analysis of new forms, instruments, promises, and direction of development cooperation. Donor discourses, which are on ownership, partnership, less conditionalities, and more empowerment, are not always followed in practice. In fact, the objective reality is that foreign aid donors usually target an assortment of aid instruments at diverse objectives. That notwithstanding, foreign aid (generally) can only be effective in achieving the objectives set by donors when it is planned, structured, and implemented in partnership with aid recipients. Clearly, the nature of the relationships between donors and recipients has a critical influence on the effectiveness of development aid. So far, the current aid experience is that the relationship between African governments and their aid donors is characterized by a vast inequality. As such, this study takes the position that there is no viable alternative to Africans taking effective charge of their destiny and deliberately creating conditions that are essential for effecting desirable change in the region's fortunes. It also takes the position that Africa's development partners such as the international financial institutions should actively seek to create and nurture the space needed by Africans for the realization of their developmental goals.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2003.


Economic assistance--Africa, Sub-Saharan., Africa, Sub-Saharan--Economic policy., Theses--Political science.