This book explores how politics and democracy plays out in reality in Africa as the major aid-receiving continent.

It points to the seriously challenged political situations that aid countries engage in. Moreover, it looks at the Paris agenda aid modalities from a democracy perspective. It illustrates the on-and-off relationship with democracy concerns in the aid system. In addition, the book points to the challenges of aid, which are too often, based on a wrongful assumption that development comes first and democracy only (hopefully) later.

The book brings to question the fundamental construction of the aid system and the values that drive it. While making a push for seeing the value of democracy on its own merits, as well as its advantages for development, the book poses some serious questions on the way the aid system is built and argues for substantive changes in the aid landscape. Issues raised are relevant for many discussions, from China as a development model, the aid system and the debate on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals.

This publication is written as an outspoken insider’s account. It aspires to be broadly accessible, engaging and to provoke debate on an issue which is still, remarkably, swept under the carpet. The critique is substantiated with facts and research, but also illustrated with situations taken from real life in Africa and international aid discussions.


Publication date
06 February 2014
Anna Lekvall
Number of pages
978-91-86565-99-2 (Print)




About this book

1. Aid and democracy

2. Democratic and not-so-democratic politics

3. The Paris aid agenda

4. Aid and politics

5. Moving forward



About the author


About International IDEA




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Development First, Democracy Later?

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