Addressing aid externalities: A study of the World Bank's community-based projects in Ghana

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)

Place of Publication



Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Arts and Humanities




Adusei-Asante, K., & Hancock, P. (2015). Addressing aid externalities: A study of the World Bank's community-based projects in Ghana. In 21st Century Tensions and Transformations in Africa: The 2015 AFSAAP Annual Conference Proceedings. Australia: AFSAAP. Available here.


Sub - Saharan African continues to be the target of significant international development aid. Although the region has received massive aid in the past sixty years, lives have not improved as expected, as seventy per cent of the one billion poorest people on earth live there. The prevalence of poverty in the region is considered so serious that, while some progress has been made, there are concerns that only two of the eight Millennium Development Goal (MDG) will be achieved by the target date of 2015. As a result, stakeholders are looking for ways to improve aid delivery in t he region in the post - MDG era. This paper seeks to contribute to the discussion by drawing on one of the case studies of our ethnographic study of the World Bank’s Community - Based Rural Development Projects implemented in Ghana between 2005 - 2011. In addition to other factors, we argue that development aid has been ineffective in Sub - Saharan Africa because aid externalities (concepts and terms that underpin aid programs designs, delivery and evaluation) are at variance with the beneficiary local socio-cultural contexts. To ensure that more effective aid is delivered in post-MDG Sub-Saharan Africa , the paper calls on development stakeholders to invest in understanding aid recipients’ local contexts, culture, behaviour and beliefs, and to not ignore their lived experiences

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