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The Aid 'Darlings' and 'Orphans' of the Great Lakes Region in Africa


  • Stefaan Marysse
  • An Ansoms
  • Danny Cassimon


This paper looks at the developmental consequences of aid flows on the Great Lakes region in Africa. Our main hypothesis is that political considerations and donor coordination problems still play an important role in directing aid and is much less dependent on objective criteria such as the need for aid or good governance. The region of the Great Lakes in Africa is a good illustration of the 'darlings' versus 'orphans' policy of official development assistance (ODA). Departing somewhat from the dominant pessimist stance on the effectiveness of aid in sub-Sahara Africa we will try to show that overall, the costs of exclusion of certain countries from aid are detrimental for human development. In order to avoid this inclusion/exclusion pattern of aid, a regional donor approach should overarch the dominant country by country donor policy. Cet article essaie d'analyser les conséquences des flux d'aide sur le développement de trois pays dans la région des Grands Lacs d'Afrique. Les considérations politiques et les problèmes de coordination entre bailleurs de fonds mènent à un traitement différencié de la part de la communauté internationale. Ce traitement différencié est une illustration parfaite de la thèse sur l'exclusion/inclusion de certains pays de l'aide internationale. Les conséquences de cette politique, loin d'être le produit d'une rationalité d'aide basé sur les besoins d'aide ou les mérites de gouvernance des pays dépendants, peuvent avoir des effets néfastes en termes de développement.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefaan Marysse & An Ansoms & Danny Cassimon, 2007. "The Aid 'Darlings' and 'Orphans' of the Great Lakes Region in Africa," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 433-458.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjdr:v:19:y:2007:i:3:p:433-458
    DOI: 10.1080/09578810701504453

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berthelemy, Jean-Claude & Tichit, Ariane, 2004. "Bilateral donors' aid allocation decisions--a three-dimensional panel analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 253-274.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald B. Davies & Stephan Klasen, 2013. "Of Donor Coordination, Free-Riding, Darlings, and Orphans: The Dependence of Bilateral Aid on Other Bilateral Giving," CESifo Working Paper Series 4177, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Danny Cassimon & Dennis Essers & Karel Verbeke, 2016. "The changing face of Rwanda's public debt," BeFinD Working Papers 0114, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    3. Takeuchi, Shinichi, 2011. "Gacaca and DDR:The Disputable Record of State-Building in Rwanda," Working Papers 32, JICA Research Institute.
    4. Diemel, J.A. & Cuvelier, J., 2015. "Explaining the uneven distribution of conflict-mineral policy implementation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The role of the Katanga policy network (2009–2011)," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P2), pages 151-160.
    5. Emmanuel Frot & Javier Santiso, 2011. "Herding in Aid Allocation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 54-74, February.
    6. repec:taf:jdevst:v:52:y:2016:i:9:p:1372-1387 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Curtis, Devon E. A., 2014. "Local agency, development assistance and the legacies of rebellion in Burundi and Rwanda," WIDER Working Paper Series 128, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. An Ansoms & Donatella Rostagno, 2012. "Rwanda's Vision 2020 halfway through: what the eye does not see," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(133), pages 427-450, September.
    9. Hackenesch, Christine, 2015. "It’s Domestic Politics, Stupid! EU Democracy Promotion Strategies Meet African Dominant Party Regimes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 85-96.
    10. Leo de Haan, 2010. "Perspectives on African Studies and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 45(1), pages 95-116.

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