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The Aid ‘Darlings’ and ‘Orphans’ of the Great Lakes Region in Africa

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This paper looks at the developmental consequences of aid flows on the Great Lakes region in Africa. Our main hypothesis is that political considerations and donor coordination problems still play an important role in directing aid and is much less dependent on objective criteria such as the need for aid or good governance. The region of the Great Lakes in Africa is a good illustration of the ‘darlings’ versus ‘orphans’ policy of official development assistance (ODA). Departing somewhat from the dominant pessimist stance on the effectiveness of aid in sub-Sahara Africa we will try to show that overall, the costs of exclusion of certain countries from aid are detrimental for human development. In order to avoid this inclusion/exclusion pattern of aid, a regional donor approach should overarch the dominant country by country donor policy.

Cet article essaie d'analyser les conséquences des flux d'aide sur le développement de trois pays dans la région des Grands Lacs d'Afrique. Les considérations politiques et les problèmes de coordination entre bailleurs de fonds mènent à un traitement différencié de la part de la communauté internationale. Ce traitement différencié est une illustration parfaite de la thèse sur l'exclusion/inclusion de certains pays de l'aide internationale. Les conséquences de cette politique, loin d'être le produit d'une rationalité d'aide basé sur les besoins d'aide ou les mérites de gouvernance des pays dépendants, peuvent avoir des effets néfastes en termes de développement.

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Marysse, S., Ansoms, A. & Cassimon, D. The Aid ‘Darlings’ and ‘Orphans’ of the Great Lakes Region in Africa. Eur J Dev Res 19, 433–458 (2007).

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