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The aid 'darlings' and 'orphans' of the Great Lakes Region in Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Cassimon, Danny
  • Ansoms, An
  • Marysse, Stefaan

In this paper we look at the developmental consequences of aid flows on the Great Lakes Region in Africa. The reshuffling of international relations after the end of the cold war has dramatically changed the exogenous influence of external actors on the agency of local and regional actors in the developing world. Our main hypothesis is however, that political considerations and donor coordination problems still play an important role in directing aid, although in a very different fashion compared to the cold war era. The region of the Great Lakes in Africa is a good illustration of the « darlings » versus « orphans » policy of official development assistance (ODA). Following a new selectivity principle, extensive structural aid is only allocated to those countries who exhibited a very particular form of “good governance” to which donors are sensitive, while “failed states” cannot qualify for structural ODA. This has led to the “aid darling” status of Rwanda and the “aid orphan” status of Zaire/DRCongo and Burundi. Our contention is that these choices have unduly inflicted high costs to these two latter countries and to the region. Since their economies are extremely aid dependent, the allocation of aid has a considerable impact on economic development as we try to show in this article. 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 are detrimental for economic development and create regional and even international public ‘bads’ because of the spill-over effects of exclusion on the region.

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Paper provided by Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) in its series IOB Discussion Papers with number 2006.10.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2006010
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  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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