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Consult your gods: the questionable economics of development assistance in Africa

  • Asongu, Simplice A

This paper assesses the aid-development nexus in 52 African countries using updated data (1996-2010) and a new indicator of human development (adjusted for inequality). The effects of Total Net Official Development Assistance (NODA), NODA from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and NODA from Multilateral donors on economic prosperity (at national and per capita levels) are also examined. The findings broadly indicate that development assistance is detrimental to GDP growth, GDP per capita growth and inequality adjusted human development. The magnitude of negativity (which is consistent across specifications and development dynamics) is highest for NODA from Multilateral donors, followed by NODA from DAC countries. Given concerns on the achievement of the MDGs, the relevance of these results point to the deficiency of foreign aid as a sustainable cure to poverty in Africa. Though the stated intents or purposes of aid are socio-economic, the actual impact from the findings negates this. It is a momentous epoque to solve the second tragedy of foreign aid; it is high time economists and policy makers start rethinking the models and theories on which foreign aid is based. In the meantime, it is up to people who care about the poor to hold aid agencies accountable for piecemeal results. Policy implications and caveats are discussed.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48475.

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Date of creation: 20 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48475
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  1. Okada, Keisuke & Samreth, Sovannroeun, 2011. "The effect of foreign aid on corruption: A quantile regression approach," MPRA Paper 27969, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Filmer, Deon & Hammer, Jeffrey S & Pritchett, Lant H, 2000. "Weak Links in the Chain: A Diagnosis of Health Policy in Poor Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 199-224, August.
  3. Julius A. Agbor, 2011. "How Does Colonial Origin Matter for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Working Paper W, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Asongu Simplice & Antonio R. Andrés, 2012. "Fighting software piracy: which governance tools matter in Africa?," Working Papers 12/017, African Governance and Development Institute..
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  6. Asongu Simplice, 2013. "On the effectiveness of foreign aid in institutional quality," Working Papers 0001, African Governance and Development Institute., revised Jan 2013.
  7. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirguc-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2002. "Law and Finance: why Does Legal Origin Matter?," NBER Working Papers 9379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. P. Guillaumont & L. Chauvet, 2001. "Aid and Performance: A Reassessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 66-92.
  9. Stephen Knack, 2001. "Aid Dependence and the Quality of Governance: Cross-Country Empirical Tests," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 310-329, October.
  10. René M. Stulz, 1999. "Golbalization, Corporate Finance, And The Cost Of Capital," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(3), pages 8-25.
  11. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  12. Asongu Simplice, 2011. "Government Quality Determinants of Stock Market Performance in African Countries," Working Papers 11/019, African Governance and Development Institute..
  13. Sanjay Reddy & Camelia Minoiu, 2009. "Development Aid and Economic Growth; A Positive Long-Run Relation," IMF Working Papers 09/118, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Simplice A, Asongu, 2011. "How would population growth affect investment in the future? Asymmetric panel causality evidence for Africa," MPRA Paper 30124, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Simplice A. ASONGU, 2011. "Why Do French Civil–Law Countries Have Higher Levels Of Financial Efficiency?," Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(2), pages 94-108, December.
  16. Easterly, William, 2005. "What did structural adjustment adjust?: The association of policies and growth with repeated IMF and World Bank adjustment loans," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 1-22, February.
  17. Tony Addison & George Mavrotas & Mark McGillivray, 2005. "Development assistance and development finance: evidence and global policy agendas," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 819-836.
  18. Asongu Simplice, 2012. "The political economy of development assistance: peril to government quality dynamics in Africa," Working Papers 12/008, African Governance and Development Institute..
  19. Simplice A, Asongu, 2012. "Globalization and Africa: implications for human development," MPRA Paper 36541, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Foreign aid and rent-seeking," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 437-461, August.
  21. Asongu Simplice, 2012. "On the effect of foreign aid on corruption," Working Papers 12/031, African Governance and Development Institute..
  22. Paul Mosley & John Hudson & Sara Horrell, 1992. "Aid, the public sector and the market in less developed countries: A return to the scene of the crime," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(2), pages 139-150, 03.
  23. Fielding, David & McGillivray, Mark & Torres, Sebastian, 2006. "A Wider Approach to Aid Effectiveness: Correlated Impacts on Health, Wealth, Fertility and Education," Working Paper Series RP2006/23, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  24. Easterly, William, 1999. "The ghost of financing gap: testing the growth model used in the international financial institutions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 423-438, December.
  25. William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2003. "New Data, New doubts: A Comment on Burnside and Dollar's "Aid, Policies, and Growth" (2000)," NBER Working Papers 9846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Boone, Peter, 1996. "Politics and the effectiveness of foreign aid," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 289-329, February.
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