Open Conference Systems, ICQQMEAS2013

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Georgios K. Bountagkidis, Constantinos C. Frangos, Christos C. Frangos

Last modified: 2015-09-24


The EU invokes a strong normative power face by explicitly connecting its foreign aid with human and social development. However, how well its rhetoric is consistent with its practices as a multilateral development actor, has not been explored thoroughly. When we consider the external relations of the EU in its widest sense, it seems as if a concern for the needs of developing countries is of secondary importance. In this study we contest the normative dimension of the EU‟s development policy and we explore whether the EU‟s Official Development Assistance to sub-Saharan Africa is dictated by normative considerations or traditional national interest. We created a dataset which consists of over 10.000 entries by collecting data from the World Bank database and covers all sub-Saharan African regions. We use a Least Squares Dummy Variable Model regression to examine the aid-flows (dependent variable) to all 48 sub-Saharan African states from 2000 to 2010. The flows data are official development aid disbursed on an annual basis from donor (EU commission) to recipient states (sub-Saharan Africa). We chose independent and control variables based on indexes that reflect social development and potential material incentives: political stability, child mortality, CO2 emissions, foreign direct investment, trade exports, military expenditure, ease of starting a business, and possession of natural resources. Our objective is to capture the priority given to development objectives and see whether it is consistent with the normative conduct of the EU or whether it is in practice primarily a means of promoting the EU‟s self-interest. The findings obtained indicate that there is a statistically significant relationship of EU ODA with strategic regressors meaning that foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa is primarily driven by self-interest nudging the Union towards a realist explanation of its development policies rather than what its idealist rhetoric claims. All of the hypotheses made – except for environmental concerns – have been verified and do support the research question under investigation. Although in the context of the Millennium Development Goals priority is supposed to be given to these cross cutting issues of major importance (Consensus on Development, Article 7(45)), there is a considerable gap between donor rhetoric and actual aid allocation. Such a fact which has considerable implications for understanding Development aid as a means of structural power utilized to promote foreign policy objectives. Uncovering the intentions of donors helps understanding their behavior as well as the aid-recipient states‟ behavior and how it is shaped in a continuous effort made to dominate on the scale that balances power

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