Foreign Aid to Africa
Since the 90's, the Western governments have increased their interest in funding civil society in Africa to promote democratization. This discussion paper examines how a range of foreign donors, including Western Governments, multilateral agencies and Non-
Governmental Organizations (NGO's) have developed "civil society" in Ghana, South
Africa and Uganda. Other important assistance comes from Civil Society Organizations
(CSO's) to assist in basic provisions for food health and shelters.
The three countries discussed in this essay are viewed as models by the Western World since they are amongst the African nations that receive the most foreign aid. For example, in 1995 South Africa was the second largest
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Donors are not funding the popular sectors of society, but are strengthening a new African elite commited to the promotion of a limited form of democracy and structural-adjustment-type economic policies in partnership with the west. This raises two crucial questions: How important is this civil society in relation with political parties, religious movements or the military, and how effective can it be? The first types of donors are the ones that strengthen the position of the civil society in relation to the state. The World Bank has played an important role in a two day National Economic Forum in 1997, bringing together over 150 organizations and institutions. The second form of donors for civil society is through funding the programs and strengthening the capacity of individual organizations. Such support ranges from funding research, parliamentary lobbying, public education campaigns and conferences to training and paying an organization's overheads. In South Africa, the Free Market Foundation received nearly 1$ million in 1997 from the United States for the promotion of economic policies in the South African parliament and administration. In Ghana, USAID proposes to spend 6$ million over five years to build the local civil society organizations through training in organizational management and lobbying skills. The leading donor in aid to civil society worldwide is the United States. The United States is responsible for 85% of total