Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

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9780199295654: Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

Foreign aid is now a $100bn business and is expanding more rapidly today than it has for a generation. But does it work? Indeed, is it needed at all?

Other attempts to answer this important question have been dominated by a focus on the impact of official aid provided by governments. But today possibly as much as 30 percent of aid is provided by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and over 10 percent is provided as emergency assistance.

In this first-ever attempt to provide an overall assessment of aid, Roger Riddell presents a rigorous but highly readable account of aid, warts and all. Does Foreign Aid Really Work? sets out the evidence and exposes the instances where aid has failed and explains why. The book also examines the way that politics distorts aid, and disentangles the moral and ethical assumptions that lie behind the belief that aid does good. The book concludes by detailing the practical ways that aid needs to change if it is to be the effective force for good that its providers claim it is.

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About the Author:


With degrees in economics, development studies and theology, Roger Riddell has been actively involved in development for more than 30 years. He has worked for developing country governments, for the private sector and for NGOs, and undertaken work for more than 10 leading bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and international institutions. He spent almost 15 years as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London. From 1999 to 2004, he was the International Director of Christian Aid, one of the UK's largest relief and development NGOs. Among his numerous publications, he has written two previous books on foreign aid, including (in 1987) Foreign Aid Reconsidered, widely acclaimed as a leading text on aid and development. Following its Independence in 1980, Mr. Riddell was the Chair of the first Presidential Economic Commission in Zimbabwe.

Review:


"Roger Riddell's text provides the single best introduction to the history and range of contemporary debates associated with foreign aid, including the rise of international NGOs as major actors and the centrality of domestic politics to shaping aid practice."--Foreign Affairs


"Riddell, a development specialist, attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of foreign aid by surveying official development aid, aid from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and humanitarian assistance (disaster relief and emergency assistance). The book is unique in covering these three interrelated topics together, with analysis of the latter two particularly useful. ...this volume is a valuable resource and an important contribution to the literature on foreign aid. Highly recommended."--CHOICE


"In this impressive new study, Riddell has surpassed even his distinguished Foreign Aid Reconsidered . It includes rare and much-needed analysis of emergency and voluntary assistance. Complete and authoritative, the book will have a long life as the definitive account of its important subject."--Professor Robert Cassen, London School of Economics


"This book is a heroic achievement. Not only has Roger Riddell mapped out with great clarity the arcane world of international aid, in a way that will help the practitioner as much as the general reader, he has also produced visionary and challenging recommendations for reform of the system. this book provides a welcome examination of how well we, the aid donors and deliverers, are performing, and suggests that we need to make far-reaching changes. The philosophy of development that underpins his argument also provides a welcome antidote to prevailing models of "humanitarian intervention" and "democracy-building" that risk undermining many of the gains of the last 60 years. I hope this book will be read by foreign and security policy-makers, as well as those in the development field. It might just help save the world in the 21st century."--Sir Michael Aaronson, former Director General of Save the Children UK


"In his new book, Does Foreign Aid Really Work?, Riddell expands on the themes analyzed in his seminal work published twenty years ago The crucial but complex issue of aid effectiveness and its constraints is analyzed with a view also towards the future, examining ways in which the impact of aid might be enhanced, improved and increased to make a greater difference. Informed by weaknesses in the present system, the book offers ideas that involve radical reform of the aid delivery system.
"This book provides an excellent insight into the challenges with which development co-operation is confronted - a rich source for students of development and development co-operation as well as for policymakers and managers of aid across the donor-recipient divide."--Olav Stokke, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs


"Riddell provides a compelling and thorough account of the intricacies of foreign aid. The strength of this book is that it establishes the positive attributes of aid without avoiding the need to critically assess its failures. Through a combination of personal experience, conceptual insight and empirical substance, Riddell demonstrates that investigating whether foreign aid works could ensure its future, rather than undermining it."--International Affairs


"An important and timely contribution to the exploding literature on international development...should be required reading for students, policy-makers, and practitioners."--Ethics and International Affairs


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