Policy Brief
Democratic Trajectories in Africa

Unravelling the Impact of Foreign Aid

When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multiparty regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.