This is an output of the Acropolis BeFinD project. The ‘Belgian Policy Research group on Financing for Development’ (BeFinD) is a collaboration between the University of Namur (CRED), the KU Leuven (HIVA and CGGS) and the University of Antwerp (IOB) in the framework of the VLIR-UOS and ARES-CCD supported Acropolis project, that provides policy research support to the Belgian Development Cooperation. The opinions expressed in this policy brief are those of the authors only.
When New York University Professor William Easterly released his best-seller The White Man’s Burden, it was described by Simon Maxwell, then director of think tank ODI, as the only book in a chain of recent works that dared to go against what he called ‘the inevitable social-democratic consensus… that aid is a worthwhile undertaking but could be better’ (Maxwell, 2007). The year was 2007 and the aid community was still head-in-clouds after the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness had given it a new sense of direction and purpose. Cautious optimism about aid and other forms of external support for development was reflected in a series of critical but generally uplifting publications by the likes of Jeffrey Sachs (2005), Stephen Browne (2006) and Roger Riddell (2007), which shared their respective views on how to achieve greater aid effectiveness.
Benin’s shrimp sector collapsed following a ban on its exports to the EU. The ban was imposed in July 2003 and resulted from the non-compliance with EU food safety standards. Strikingly, the sector did not revive, despite the lift of the ban in 2005 and considerable Aid for Trade flows. We argue that the sector’s dependency on the EU, Benin’s poor institutional environment, and inadequate Aid for Trade have played critical roles in explaining the persistent effects of the ban.
The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda started on 7 April 1994. In a mere hundred days, three-quarters of the Tutsi minority was
exterminated. At the beginning of the massacres, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) –the rebel movement that invaded the country in
October 1990 from Uganda and with Ugandan support– launched an offensive that gave it military victory in early July. As the Hutu
extremists had massively killed Tutsi “live” on television, these were the “bad guys”, while those who fought them, the RPF rebels,
had to be the “good guys”. Few observers realised in these days that this was not a conflict between “good” and “bad” guys, but one
between “bad guys”.