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Aiding Recovery: the Crisis of Aid in Chronic Political Emergencies

Book/book chapter

More and more governments, in Africa and elsewhere, have begun to buckle under the strains of economic crisis, structural adjustment and declining legitimacy, often resulting in the outbreak of civil war. International aid traditionally assumes the existence of states capable of making policy. In countries like Cambodia, Uganda or Kosovo, this is no longer the case. The big donor agencies usually respond by substituting emergency relief assistance for development aid. There are now calls to make relief more development-oriented in order to address the conflicts underlying crises. But the original research in this book demonstrates that relief and development aid are very distinct processes. Without public policy-making authorities, aid becomes highly fragmented, often inadequate in scale and incapable of building local sustainability for particular programmes. The international aid system, the author concludes, faces real dilemmas and remains ill-equipped to respond to the peculiar challenges of quasi-statehood that characterise chronic political emergencies and their aftermath.

Joanna Macrae