Aid and Influence
Do Donors Help or Hinder?
Edited by Stephen Browne
Routledge – 2006 – 192 pages
Aid is always a means of influence: political, commercial, military and security-related. Some influence is benign, but much of it is coercive, even 'imperialistic'. Given the nature of aid, its effectiveness should be judged not only in developmental terms, but in terms of international relations. Even donors agree that, on both counts, the returns are meagre. This book, drawing on the author's 30 years of field experience, proposes two kinds of solution: donors should climb down from paternalistic central planning practices and support public goods that are neutral and beneficial ? cancellation of debt, fair trade, responsible economic governance, vaccine production, peace-making and peace-keeping. For their part, developing countries should follow the example of the most successful among them: recognize the true costs of 'free' aid, exercise their prerogative to choose their development partners and start paying their own way.
'This powerful critique of aid by a distinguished practitioner cannot be brushed aside. As Browne argues, doubling aid without radical redesign is unlikely to deliver accelerated development. He offers an attractive recipe for reform.' Paul Collier, Professor of Economics, Oxford University 'Stephen Browne provides a radical and original take on a familiar subject, with careful analysis and drawing on a wealth of personal experience … Readable stuff, destined to make those in the aid business think harder.' Sir Richard Jolly, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex 'The book is excellent, laudable, readable and an accurate diagnosis of all that is wrong with aid. It should be essential reading for students and for anyone who still thinks that donors really are doing their best for poor countries' Development and Change, Vol. 38, No.3, May 2007
The Great Mismatch * Aid Origins * Evolving Development Fashions * Influence through Conditionality * Aid to Fragile States * Aid and Imperialism * Donors from the South * New Beginnings: A Market for Aid *
Stephen Browne is a Director at the UN with over 25 years' experience in international aid and development. His books include Beyond Aid (1999) and Developing Capacity through Technical Cooperation (2002).