Aid, development and democracy in Lesotho, 1966-1996

Aid, development and democracy in Lesotho, 1966-1996

The changing face of aid: an historical analysis

The paper examines historical trends and patterns of aid and unravels its interface with development and democracy in Lesotho. It identifies three different periods and considers the characteristics of each. Finds that:


  • aid was channelled primarily to large-scale rural development projects
  • donors equated economic growth with development in a Rostowian fashion
  • aid played little, if any, role in deepening democracy


  • shift in aid politics towards concerns with the growth with redistribution refocused aid towards integrated rural development programmes, physical infrastructure and the industrial sector
  • prevelance of corruption
  • Lesotho exploited donor concerns regarding the Cold War and aparteid in South Africa

1986 - 1996

  • aid politics governed by the IMF/World Bank-driven economic adjustment process
  • aid linked openly to political liberalisation through the apotheosis of virtues of liberal democracy and its symbiosis with free enterprise system
  • increase in aid to the non-state sector: enhancing civil society for democratic consolidation

Concludes that aid has had mixed results. It has:

    consolidated the existance of the state
  • deepened the country's dependence on South Africa
  • contained extremities of natural calamities and poverty
  • had a mininal impact on poverty alleviation

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