To Aid or Not to Aid? Competing Narratives on the Efficacy of Foreign Aid in Sub-Saharan African
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While the last half century gave rise to over a dozen developing nations whose economic expansion surpassed the growth rates of many industrialized economies, the same fifty years witnessed a majority of aid-dependent Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from economic stagnation and in some cases even regression. Poverty eradication and development is a prominent feature of the foreign policy agendas of most of the developed world. However, with much of the modern literature touting empirical evidence denouncing the capability of foreign assistance to positively impact the economic condition of underdeveloped countries, it is clear that aid effectiveness must measured beyond aggregate economic variables such as gross national product or per capita income. The recent transition from an economic to a human development focused examination of the role of foreign aid has incited further investigation into whether human welfare can be improved through development assistance. Additionally, the question of whether targeted foreign aid flows designed to address specific human development goals can be a successful development tool has been left unanswered. Many experts predict the Sub-Saharan region as least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 at the United Nations, yet much of the literature on aid effectiveness has neglected to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa specifically. The following analysis addresses the fundamental question of whether foreign aid is effective for accomplishing the development goals for which it is intended. This thesis is a cross-national analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa testing the efficacy of foreign aid flows on human welfare as measured by health outcomes. The amount of foreign aid is not significantly correlated with nominal health outcomes. The results of the efficiency model refute the presupposition that more aid increases a given country’s ability to more efficiently provide health care for its citizens. The results indicate that aid does not have a significant positive relationship with efficiency, and may have the opposite effect. The final model analyzed whether aid positively impacted a country’s prospects for eventual independence. This was the first model to suggest a positive relationship between aid and health outcome.
Stuart, Kaleisha (2011). To Aid or Not to Aid? Competing Narratives on the Efficacy of Foreign Aid in Sub-Saharan African. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from