Denmark, Aarhus

Financing Development in Africa: Aid and its Alternatives

when 5 August 2013 - 30 August 2013
duration 4 weeks
credits 9.9 EC

International development is big business. Total global financial aid flows from North to South are more than $150 billion annually, of which one-third goes to Africa. Still, Africa is lacking behind and is unlikely to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty by 2015: almost 40 percent of the population, or 366 million people, are estimated to be living on less than $1.25 a day in 2015. It is therefore tempting to ask whether more than half a century of aid to Africa has actually worked. Some say yes, others a definite no. This seminar takes a deeper look at aid to Africa, the continents’ developments, and the scholarly debate on aid, its effects and alternatives. The course will start with a general overview of developments on the African continents, but will otherwise concentrate on the role of aid in promoting development. Specifically, we shall examine the principles of aid and the evolution in thinking about aid. We shall look at different aid agencies and critically discuss their rational for giving aid and potential impacts on the ground. Old and new strategies of aid will also be analyzed with the purpose of discussing advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to aid. Finally, a relatively large part of the seminar will be devoted to the debate on whether aid ‘works or not’; we will assess scholarly contributions and contemplate what we can say about the impact of aid as well as the potential limitations in the research. Furthermore, we will take up potential alternatives to aid as put forward by its critics and discuss how such alternatives might meet the challenges of development on the African continent. The course will centre on class discussions where we will focus on critically reviewing the theoretical perspectives / scholarly arguments, chosen research methods, and empirical analyses. As part of the discussion empirical cases and evidence will be included as much as possible and we will reflect on alternative ways to question and analyze the various topics as regards development aid to Africa.

Course leader

Marianne Ulriksen, University of Johannesburg

Target group

Master students

Course aim

The seminar module offers a more extensive and more thorough analysis of the topic from within political science. To this end, the seminar module provides an overview and a critical discussion of the literature and the issues relevant for the topic of the seminar. The objectives for this module are: By the end of the course, the participants are expected to be able to:

- Describe the relevant theories / thinking as regards development aid to Africa
- Discuss theoretical and methodological strengths and weaknesses
- Apply theories, approaches, methods and data in order to analyze specific research questions on financing development in Africa
- Assess the relative value of theories, approaches and methods used in the seminar.

Fee info

EUR 0: Students on a bilateral exchange programme do not have to pay. Freemovers are obliged to pay participation fees while tuition fees only apply to freemovers from countries outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland.