Debates on aid conditionality tie intimately with those over the perceived failure of aid, particularly in Africa, to catalyse the kind of development that had been expected.
Since the end of the 1990s, donors have promoted a New Aid Agenda in which the lexicon has shifted away from conditionality and back towards ideas of “ownership” and “partnership”. While the language of the aid industry may have moved on, “aid conditionality” is still very much part and parcel of aid-giving.
This study reiterates a now commonplace conclusion that policy-based conditionality has been broadly ineffective. But it is a conclusion which merits repetition, as the logical consequence of it has been ignored – the recommendation that most policy-based conditionality should be phased out.