Right to Development and the Role of DAC OECD Foreign Aid to Development in Africa


Ngang C.C.


When the concept of the human right to development was articulated in Africa in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the idea was not to ask for development aid but to assert the right to self-determination, or even the right to genuine liberation from continued external domination, in order to assume sovereign control and determine the continent’s own developmental destiny. However, in the course of evolution, the idea of the right to development has been distorted to some extent and has been thwarted in order to imply recourse for its realization. Developed countries were required to provide 0.7% of their annual gross domestic product as foreign aid to assist developing countries, including African countries, in their efforts to achieve comprehensive development. Over more than six decades, from 1960 to 2022, the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (DAC OECD) donor countries provided a total of USD 1.23 trillion in development assistance to 48 recipient countries in Africa. This paper examines the extent to which the foreign aid allocations have contributed to development of recipient countries in Africa. The findings illustrate that despite the continued shipment of foreign aid to Africa, impoverishment and underdevelopment have worsened across the continent, raising the question of why Africa should remain trapped in the DAC OECD “dead aid” conundrum when alternative, mutually beneficial development cooperation mechanisms could be explored.


Right to development, foreign aid, development assistance, development cooperation, DAC OECD, development justice, alternative cooperation frameworks, Africa




1. Alemu A.M., Lee J.-S. (2015). Foreign aid on economic growth in Africa: A comparison of low and middle-income countries. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences. Vol. 14. № 2. Pp. 449–462. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2222-3436/2015/V18N4A1
2. Ayodele T., Cudjoe F., Nolutshungu T. A., Sunwabe C. K. (2005). African perspectives on aid: Foreign assistance will not pull Africa out of poverty. Cato Institute Economic Development Bulletin. № 2. Pp. 1–4.
3. Boon E. (2009). International Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Africa. Regional Sustainable Development Review. Vol. 1. Pp. 1–10.
4. Bulhan H.A. (2015). Stages of colonialism in Africa: From occupation of land to occupation of being. Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Vol. 3. № 1. Pp. 239–256. https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp. v3i1.143
5. Carlsson J., Somolekae G., van de Walle N. (Eds.). (1997). Foreign Aid in Africa: Learning from country experiences. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
6. Cofelice A. (2018). African Continental Free Trade Area: Opportunities and challenges. The Federalist Debate. Vol. 31. № 3. Pp. 32–33. http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/tfd-2018-0032
7. Davis J.F. (2024). Assessing the economic impacts of foreign aid expenditure in West Africa: An empirical analysis of the effects of aid expenditure on economic growth. Journal of African Studies and Development. Vol. 16. № 1. Pp. 1–9. https://doi.org/10.5897/JASD2023.0691

For citation:

Ngang, C.C. (2024). Right to Development and the Role of DAC OECD Foreign Aid to Development in Africa. Journal of the Institute for African Studies. № 2. Pp. 40–59. https://doi.org/10.31132/2412-5717-2024-67-2-40-59

Для цитирования:

Нганг К. Ч. Право на развитие и роль иностранной помощь КСР ОЭСР в развитии Африки. Ученые записки Института Африки РАН. 2024. № 2. С. 40–59. https://doi.org/10.31132/2412-5717-2024-67-2-40-59