Sovereignty matters africa donors and the aid relationship problems

Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship | African Affairs | Oxford Academic

sovereignty matters africa donors and the aid relationship problems

Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship Research Papers of the Wroclaw University of Economics / Prace N; Part 1, Issue , p Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship . A key problem with the three sovereignty arguments surveyed above is that they. AU, ACIRC Brief on the ASF and the ACIRC Challenges Towards the William Brown, 'Sovereignty Matters: Africa, Donors, and the Aid Relationship', African.

Whatever other powers donors have, a socially recognized right to rule African societies is not one of them, nor is it sought: As for aid recipients, many have clear guidelines establishing precisely which ministries and representatives have the authority to act on behalf of the state in aid negotiations and implementation.

Indeed one of the effects of the Paris Declaration has been to clarify such roles. It therefore plays a central role in coordinating the framework of aid management and dialogue. Even where NGOs are involved either independently or as conduits for bilateral aid, their presence and actions within a recipient country are subject to the legal imprimatur of the state concerned. Sudan's expulsion of thirteen NGOs in is a prominent example.

The GoR [Government of Rwanda] retains a fundamental duty to ensure that all such [NGOs] — regardless of whether their activities are financed by ODA — act in a manner that is transparent and accountable to the Rwandan citizen. The GoR's regulatory role in this respect is detailed in its Laws regulating the activities of national and international non-governmental organizations operating in Rwanda.

These examples all illustrate ways in which recognition of sovereign rights of recipient states creates the basis through which the aid relationship is conducted — it defines who the actors are and important aspects of their respective roles. However, by doing this, sovereignty also shapes the way in which aid relationships are conducted.

Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship - Open Research Online

The need for negotiation in the first place comes about precisely because any aid programme requires the agreement of the recipient, because that recipient possesses sovereign independence and with it the right to agree or refuse aid programmes. Conditionality, after all, is a means of offering incentives and threats to an independent party to persuade them to act in a certain way because donors cannot instruct them directly. Imperial fiat will not work in this circumstance. Sovereignty as a right to rule is therefore critical to the ability of recipient states to exercise agency within the inequalities of the aid relationship.

Tanzania as a state subsumed beneath donor influence, Rwanda as an example of a state able to retain some control over aid relations. In fact, in neither case do we see a loss of sovereignty understood as a right to rule. Rather, it is the changing use that is made of this right, under changing conditions, that lies behind their fluctuating relations with donors.

Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship

By —5, mounting dissatisfaction on both sides led to another breakdown in relations with donors. First, at no point is there any evidence that donors questioned the independence of Tanzania as a sovereign state; as noted, donors require sovereign states with which to do business.

It was its initiative with the Danish government that laid the ground for a different kind of relationship with donors. Indeed, the dissatisfaction that donors had with Tanzania up until this point was in part a reflection of the frustration they had at not being able to achieve the extent of reforms inside the country that they sought.

sovereignty matters africa donors and the aid relationship problems

Finally, as detailed by both Wangwe and Harrison et al. Rather, sovereignty as a right to rule underpins how aid relations have been enacted. Whether in Tanzania, where donor influence has penetrated relatively deeply, or in Rwanda where this is less the case, both remain sovereign states with the right to say no to external actors.

Authority, control, and liberal aid As signalled earlier, this analysis relies on a conceptual simplification separating issues of sovereign rights from issues of national political control.

In actual political discourse, things are not quite so cut and dried. Indeed, the language of sovereignty is often deployed by representatives of recipient states in contests over national political control, including contests with donors. The argument presented here suggests that we should not take such discourse at face value.

Nevertheless, we do need to give some account as to why such contests arise and why the language of sovereignty is used. There are two points that address these questions. First, the language of sovereignty is used because it is a powerful rhetorical resource with which to contest restrictions on national autonomy that themselves threaten the bases of domestic political support for recipient regimes.

Second, the language of sovereignty is used because loss of national control over policy is perceived to undermine some of the purpose of sovereignty. However, while both points complicate the account given above, they do not undermine it entirely. Each of these aims connotes a particular, liberal, understanding of how internal authority in recipient states should be constituted and exercised.

That is, a state bound by law, operating at arms length from direct relations of production, upholding property rights and contracts and, for some donors at least, subject to electoral endorsement.

Despite the rise of a notably illiberal China, and some recent failures of nerve among donors in terms of aid effectiveness, this liberal blueprint still animates Western thinking in the aid arena. This claim implies not only that a recipient state's policy autonomy is curtailed by development assistance, but also more fundamentally that the politico-legal independence of the state itself is being challenged.

While the former is often the case, the latter is not. Drawing a conceptual and analytical distinction between sovereignty as a right to rule and national control over policy and outcomes, the article develops a more accurate identification of the areas in which aid, as a particular form of external influence, does and does not have an impact on recipient states.

sovereignty matters africa donors and the aid relationship problems

It argues that sovereignty as a right to rule constitutes the very basis of the aid relationship, and endows African states with the agency with which to contest the terms of aid deals. The article thus provides a new reading of the politics of aid and, by reasserting the centrality of sovereignty as an organizing institution in contemporary aid relations, supports rather than questions the relevance of the discipline of International Relations to African studies.

This relationship is no longer limited to trade alone but extended by two other important vector changes: This new fellowship with the great emerging China must revise its approach to Africa. Extraversion, vulnerability to donors, and political liberalization in Africa. This article assesses the relationship between extraversion and political liberalization, a dimension Chinese Aid to Africa: Filling the Gaps that Others Left.