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Donor’s double talk undermines African agency: Comparative study of civic agency in aid dependent countries. The case of Burkina Faso and Togo

Kohnert, Dirk (2015): Donor’s double talk undermines African agency: Comparative study of civic agency in aid dependent countries. The case of Burkina Faso and Togo.

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Abstract

Despite a long-standing controversy about aid-effectiveness in general and the impact of aid-dependency on governance in particular, little is known on the effect of donors policies on civic agency for democratization in aid dependent autocratic regimes. In this study it is argued that the long-term effects of double-talk of donors, who openly promote democracy and freedom but covertly follow overriding hidden interest, are a neglected source of failure of civic protest and democratic revolutions in autocratic regimes. The differing outcome of ‘democratic revolutions’ in Togo and Burkina Faso – both ‘aid darlings’ for decades - serves to substantiate this thesis. A systematic and holistic consideration is necessary for an unbiased evaluation of the hidden adverse impact of aid on collective action at the grass-roots. Therefore, a rethinking of temporal and disciplinary ‘fault lines’ in development politics as well as in development studies is essential.

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