GRID VIEW LIST VIEW

The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania

With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – has been documented in a host of studies. Nonetheless, international organisations continue to send advisors, promising to increase the ‘effectiveness’ of expert support if their technocratic recommendations are taken up.

This book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the shifting paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments.

For young democracies, the persistent presence of external actors is hazardous: ultimately, it poses a threat to the legitimacy of their governments if their policy-making becomes more responsive to foreign demands than to the preferences and needs of their citizens.

Election Management Bodies in East Africa

The management of elections is increasingly generating impassioned debate in these East African nations – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The bodies that manage and conduct elections are, therefore, coming under intense citizen and stakeholder scrutiny for the manner in which they are composed, how they organise and perform their mandates, and the outcomes they achieve.

The effectiveness of electoral management bodies (EMBs) has largely been influenced by the impact of political violence on election management reforms in East Africa. Even in countries where EMBs are the products of reforms initiated in the aftermath of violent disputes over elections, they still face enormous challenges in dealing with electoral disputes and anticipating election-related crises. Although changes to constitutions and the laws in these countries have sought to make EMBs independent and, therefore, more inclined to deliver free, fair and credible elections, there are many issues that determine their impartiality and their ability to allow for the aggregation and free expression of the will of the people. These shortcomings negatively impact on democracy.

This volume assembles case studies on the capacity of EMBs in these five East African countries to deliver democratic and transparent elections.