Donor Government Relations in Sub-Saharan Africa
Keywords: Foreign Aid; Donor-Government Relations; Aid Effectiveness; State-Society Relations
Project Duration: 3 years (1 September 2012 to 31 August 2015)

The project “Donor-Government Relations in Sub-Saharan Africa” aims to investigate why some bilateral and multilateral donors, particularly European donors, are increasingly willing to fund aid programs that give recipient-country governments more influence over where and how development aid money is spent, despite poor governance in many aid dependent states. It will build knowledge on (1) how foreign assistance changes domestic political opportunities in aid-dependent countries and (2) the impact of new aid practices on domestic policy decision-making in aid dependent states.

While it is generally understood that aid dependence alters incentives for cooperation and good governance (often with negative results), the bargaining process between donors and recipient-country governments is relatively unknown. Additionally, there has be little scientific analysis of the impact of new aid programs, such as general budget support, despite their proliferation in recent years.

The research project will fill this gap by investigating three new aid modalities in four Sub-Saharan African countries: Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Data will be collected mainly through in-country fieldwork. The objective of the project is to generate fundamental scientific knowledge on donor-government relations that in the long-term will contribute to the design and implementation of more effective development assistance programs by European development agencies. Key outputs include not only scientific articles, but policy briefs, workshops in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a conference for policymakers and academics.

To follow the progress on this project, please refer to the blog section of this website.

Survey of Donor Officials
As a part of the research project described above, I am currently in the process of conducting a survey of Heads of Development Cooperation (HoCs) or their equivalent in twenty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the first time, to my knowledge, that a survey of this kind has been conducted. Respondents are asked a variety of questions related to their own agencies priorities, the challenges they face on a regular bases and how they interact with their government counterparts. When complete, the survey will provide unique data on how development cooperation operates at the mission-level.

As of 5 March 2014, 52 individuals had filled out a survey in the five countries sampled thus far with a response rate of 62%. For a copy of the survey protocol, please contact me. The protocol is available in both English and French.