Book Chapter
Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

Simplistic claims that aid either improves or undermines democracy are unhelpful without understanding how, why, and under what conditions. With a specific emphasis on Africa, this book examines how disparate types of foreign aid both directly and indirectly influence countries’ democratic trajectories, especially the likelihood of transitioning to multi-party regimes and consolidating democratic gains. The predominant focus has been on traditional bilateral and multi-lateral aid partners, nonetheless a variety of non-traditional donors are examined—particularly China, but also Brazil, India, and Arab donors. Both quantitative and qualitative methods highlight the complexity of democratization and the possibilities for variation even among a sample of countries that are all broadly considered electoral democracies. Many of the countries in this book are at important turning points both economically and politically, which will continue to influence the impact of foreign aid.