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WP/84 Lessons of Experience in International Democracy Support: Implications for Supporting Democratic Change in North Africa

Research and Communication on Foreign Aid
The so-called ‘Arab spring’ in North Africa and the Middle East in early 2011 took many political commentators by surprise. It challenged international democracy support to learn from its own limitations while potentially offering exciting new opportunities. The global momentum of democratization, which had appeared to run out of steam, could be reinvigorated. The decline in fortunes that democracy support had sustained in recent years might be reversed. The recent development could place in new perspective the growing challenge that countries like China and Russia seemed to be presenting to the spread of liberal democracy because of their increasing role in international politics and the developing world’s rapidly expanding economic ties with China. If international democracy support is to respond constructively to the still evolving political trajectory of countries like Egypt and Tunisia it must reflect on its own past engagement in the world generally and North Africa specifically. It should also take account of what the experience of democratization elsewhere tells us and the distinguishing features of individual countries in the region. Reporting lessons about what not to do is easier than drawing up strategies of democracy support that are guaranteed to succeed. However this need not prevent analysis from identifying lessons of assistance and, probably even more important, the international conditions that will strongly influence whether democracy promotion succeeds or fails.
Publisher:
UNU-WIDER
Series:
WIDER Working Paper
Volume:
2011/84
Title:
WP/84 Lessons of Experience in International Democracy Support: Implications for Supporting Democratic Change in North Africa
Authors:
Peter Burnell
Publication date:
December 2011
ISBN 13 Print:
978-92-9230-451-5
Copyright holder:
© UNU-WIDER
Copyright year:
2011
Keywords:
International democracy promotion; Arab spring; development
JEL:
F59
Sponsor:
This working paper has been prepared within the UNU-WIDER project ‘Foreign Aid: Research and Communication (ReCom)’, directed by Tony Addison and Finn Tarp. UNU-WIDER gratefully acknowledges specific programme contributions from the governments of Denmark (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danida) and Sweden (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency—Sida) for the Research and Communication (ReCom) programme. UNU-WIDER also acknowledges core financial support to UNU-WIDER’s work programme from the governments of Finland (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), and the governments of Denmark and Sweden.
Format:
online
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