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Foreign Aid in Africa: Tracing Channels of Influence on Democratic Transitions and Consolidation

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  • Resnick, Danielle

Abstract

How does aid impact democracy in sub-Saharan Africa? Drawing on existing literature, this study elaborates on the various channels, direct and indirect, through which development and democracy aid has influenced transitions to multi-party regimes and democratic consolidation within the region. The study´s findings are at least threefold. First, development aid was effective at promoting democratic transitions during the 1990s in those African countries that were beset by economic crisis, faced domestic discontent, or possessed a high dependence on aid, as well as when major donors took concerted action. Second, development and democracy aid demonstrate disparate effects on key elements of consolidation, including the avoidance of democratic erosion, the enhancement of accountability, and the promotion of competitive party systems. Development aid´s most direct influence is with respect to preventing democratic backsliding, though this is often done in an inconsistent manner. Democracy aid plays a more direct role with respect to enhancing accountability and party systems but, its cumulative impact remains hindered by the dispersion of assistance across different activities and its temporal focus on elections. Third, in some areas of consolidation, the disparate objectives of development and democracy aid create clear trade-offs that remain unresolved.

Suggested Citation

  • Resnick, Danielle, 2012. "Foreign Aid in Africa: Tracing Channels of Influence on Democratic Transitions and Consolidation," WIDER Working Paper Series 015, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2012-015
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    File URL: https://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2012-015.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kohnert, Dirk, 2015. "Donor’s double talk undermines African agency : Comparative study of civic agency in Burkina Faso and Togo," EconStor Conference Papers 120921, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Simplice A. Asongu & Mohamed Jellal, 2014. "Foreign aid, investment and fiscal policy behavior: theory and empirical evidence," Research Africa Network Working Papers 14/030, Research Africa Network (RAN).
    3. Gibson, Clark C. & Hoffman, Barak D. & Jablonski, Ryan S., 2015. "Did Aid Promote Democracy in Africa? The Role of Technical Assistance in Africa’s Transitions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 323-335.
    4. Simplice Asongu & Mohamed Jellal, 2016. "Foreign Aid Fiscal Policy: Theory and Evidence," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 58(2), pages 279-314, June.
    5. Asongu, Simplice A & Jellal, Mohamed, 2014. "International aid, corruption and fiscal policy behavior," MPRA Paper 58750, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Asongu Simplice, 2014. "Development thresholds of foreign aid effectiveness in Africa," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 41(11), pages 1131-1155, November.
    7. repec:spd:journl:v:67:y:2017:i:4:p:85-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Asongu, Simplice & Jellal, Mohamed, 2014. "International aid corruption and fiscal behavior policy," MPRA Paper 57192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Cerami, Alfio, 2018. "The Night Lights of North Korea. Prosperity Shining and Public Policy Governance," MPRA Paper 87281, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Jun 2018.

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