Book Chapter

Why Aid and Democracy? Why Africa?

When, why, and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democratic transitions and consolidation in recipient countries? Despite impressive growth over the last decade, Africa still remains the most aid-dependent region of the world. At the same time, many African countries are relatively young democracies that continue to face constraints in terms of strengthening the institutions needed for good governance and protecting the human rights of all citizens. Addressing such constraints is gaining greater salience on the international donor agenda. However, there is little cumulative knowledge regarding whether, and how, foreign aid has promoted such goals. This study instead recognizes that while aid’s effectiveness is often conditioned by a range of political factors, it often also generates new political dynamics and reinforces existing political practices and actors.