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Can Aid Generate Growth in Africa?

  • Bigsten, Arne

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

The paper discusses the impact of foreign aid on economic growth in Africa. After brief discussion about growth determinants it goes on to review the available evidence about the impact of aid on African economic growth. Evidence from both cross-country regressions and country studies is considered, and issues relating to economic policy, governance, ownership, and sustainability are identified as particularly important. Given those insights, some general conclusions are drawn as to what type of aid should be given. However, the main focus is on a discussion about how to structure the aid relationship so that it encourages good governance, which is deemed essential for long-term growth. Donors should delegate more responsibility to the recipients, while at the same time creating an incentive structure for good performance. This would include among other things a shift towards ex post conditionality and aid allocation according to performance. Given the improvements in the economic policy environment in Africa, the prospects for effective aid look more promising than they have for a long time.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/gunwpe/papers/gunwpe0003.ps.zip
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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/gunwpe/papers/gunwpe0003.ps
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 3.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 15 May 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Foreign Aid: New Perspectives, Gupta, Kanhaya L. (eds.), 1999, chapter Can Aid Generate Economic Growth in Africa?, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0003
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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  1. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Christopher S. Adam & Stephen O'Connell, 1997. "Aid, taxation and development: analytical perspectives on aid effectiveness in sub-Saharan Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1997. "Explaining African economic performance," CSAE Working Paper Series 1997-02.2, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Christopher Adam & Stephen A. O`Connell, 1997. "Aid, taxation and development: analytical perspectives on aid effectiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1997-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  6. Claessens, Stijn & Naude, David, 1993. "Recent estimates of capital flight," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1186, The World Bank.
  7. Mosley, Paul & Hudson, John & Horrell, Sara, 1987. "Aid, the Public Sector and the Market in Less Developed Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 616-41, September.
  8. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
  9. Bigsten, Arne & Moene, Karl Ove, 1996. "Growth and Rent Dissipation: The Case of Kenya," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 5(2), pages 177-98, June.
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