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The Promise and Pitfalls of Development Aid: The Elusive Goal of Aid That Helps People Help Themselves

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This paper tackles the thorny issue of development aid with a particular focus on aid provided to African states. The authors review the literature that has made it plain that aid has not worked in the developing world when it is provided in a top-down fashion with little concern for the actual needs of the aid recipients. They refer to the work of Easterly who has noted that since the end of the Cold War development assistance has unfortunately “done so much ill and so little good”. They review the actions of the UN nations that have effectively been bribed through promises of aid to support such ill thought out actions as the war on Iraq. Aid related to global security instead of to sustainable development has become the norm. Unfortunately, the manner of aid delivery from many developed countries today comes with conditions that have, instead of improving the conditions of people and countries receiving the assistance, actually resulted in economic stagnation. Examples of positive assistance plans to the developing world that are based on a dialogue between donor and donee, and respect human rights are given. The authors of this paper support the kind of aid that can lead to sustainable development, mitigate poverty, and make it possible for people to help themselves.
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Keywords: aid-growth debate; autonomy development; development aid distribution; human rights in aid; neoliberalism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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