Chapter 5: Inequalities, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction
SELECTIVITY AND SOVEREIGNTY The inability of aid to promote growth over the past five decades, and the failure of economic reform efforts in the past 20 years to bring about the establishment of a favourable environment for sustainable growth, have left international donors and development finance institutions, such as the World Bank, in a state of confusion. They have had to contend with several new factors that have emerged in the international climate for aid. First, the validity of aid as an instrument of development is being increasingly questioned. Symptomatic of this scepticism is the ‘aid fatigue’ observed amongst most donors. Secondly, with the demise of the Cold War, it is no longer necessary to give aid to obtain the support of regimes with a dubious track record of handling their own internal affairs. Thirdly, there is now widespread recognition that certain preconditions for growth need to be present in a country before any resource transfer from abroad can have any positive developmental effect. For instance, even the World Bank (2001a) in its study on Aid and Reform in Africa accepts that, in a country with poor social and economic policies and no political movement to change, aid cannot promote structural reform and development. In view of these factors, it has been necessary for donor organizations and their intellectual supporters to formulate new approaches to development assistance which, while being based on past experience, provide greater guarantees that they will be more successful in the future. The vast aid bureaucracy...
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