Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 194

Full Length Research Paper

Foreign aid and development in Africa: What the literature says and what the reality is

Nathan Andrews
Department of Political Science, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St Catharines ON, L2S 3A1 Canada or  2 Leeson Street, St Catharines, ON L2T 2R1 Canada.
Email: [email protected]

  • Article Number - 9F397B48420
  • Vol.1(1), pp. 008-015 , November 2009
  •  Accepted: 26 October 2009
  •  Published: 30 November 2009



Evidence of ineffective foreign assistance is widespread in Africa. The debate on how aid can be effective and contribute to Africa’s development is, however, still ongoing without any clear way forward. This paper adopts a deductive approach to explaining aid and development in Africa. There is a high volume of literature on the impact of foreign aid on development in Africa, yet not many of them recognize all the factors that contribute to aid (in) effectiveness. The focus is often on macro-economic indicators which do not fairly represent the realities of poverty and suffering in many African countries. We offer an analysis of the theories that have been propounded to explain the relationship between aid and (under) development in Africa. In this paper, we critically examine such findings and test their validity against the backdrop that socio-cultural factors have not been given adequate consideration.


Key words: Aid, development, culture, dependence, poverty, economic growth.