Like the larger programme of research of which this paper is part, the focus here is restricted. First, it is confined to aid donors drawn from the member states of the European Union. In the Zimbabwean case, it is restricted to the EU donors with the six largest aid programmes: Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Commission.
Second, the focus is only on the use of aid for the purpose of poverty reduction (hereafter PR). There are entirely appropriate uses of aid other than to tackle poverty. Indeed, the argument has often been made that all aid, being intended to improve economic performance, is ultimately poverty reducing. This paper argues against that assertion for Zimbabwe. However, the authors acknowledge that the quality of a donor's aid programme cannot be adequately assessed just by reference to its PR content.