Multiple Principals, Multiple Agents: EU and US Democracy Assistance in Sub-Saharan Africa [Dec. 2014]
Karen Del Biondo
Postdoctoral Scholar at CDDRL, 2012-2013;
Postdoctoral Fellow, KFG Transformative Power of Europe,
Free University of Berlin, 2013-2014
This paper investigates under which conditions the EU and the US take a political or developmental approach to democracy assistance. It aims to find out whether the approach differs among the relevant sources of democracy assistance: the European Development Fund (EDF), European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), Instrument for Stability (IfS), US Agency for International Development (USAID), National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Based on the combination of interests and institutions, it is predicted that a developmental approach is more likely in the case of strategically important countries, but only for USAID, the EIDHR, the EDF and the IfS which are subject to political control. In this case, USAID is expected to be more developmental than the EDF, given the strong political control of the State Department. Based on the combination of ideas and institutions, USAID and the EDF are expected to be more developmental as their main objective is development. In comparison to USAID, the EDF is expected to be more developmental, as the EDF is co-decided with the government. Empirically, the paper analyzes democracy assistance in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ethiopia since 2005. Ethiopia and Kenya are strategically important, and thus we expect a more developmental approach than in Rwanda and Zimbabwe. An analysis of democracy assistance disconfirmed the importance of interests and institutions. Transatlantic differences can better be explained by ideas and institutions, particularly the fact that the EDF is co-decided by the government. Two explanations are put forward for the relative unimportance of interests and institutions. First, it is believed that the openness of the government defines the approach to democracy assistance. Second, people in the field may still maintain some autonomy regarding the approach to democracy assistance.
Postdoctoral Scholar at CDDRL, 2012-2013
Postdoctoral Fellow, KFG Transformative Power of Europe, Free University of Berlin, 2013-2014
Internationally, there has been an increasing call for ‘partnership’ in development cooperation. This refers to development cooperation based on negotiation with the recipient government on an equal basis. While both the E.U. and the U.S. have formally committed to this principle, the E.U. is known to be a frontrunner in partnership-based development, while the U.S. was found to be rather slow in implementing this agenda. This paper investigates the degree to which E.U. and U.S. development policies reflect partnership, particularly regarding general features, aid characteristics, conditionality and aid selectivity and aid motives. It finds that, while E.U. development cooperation has traditionally been stronger focused on partnership than it is the case for the U.S., in recent years the gap is narrowing. On the one hand, E.U. development policies have increasingly resembled those of the U.S., as E.U. development assistance is becoming more focused on security and there are increasing conditions on budget support. While U.S. development policies are still strongly driven by security motives, the U.S. has recently madeefforts to increase country ownership.