AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
The ending of the Cold War brought new topics on the agenda of the international aid donors. Questions of democracy and human rights were voiced with rising intensity not least by the European Union and by individual European countries. However, when it came to implementing the ambitious principles, both the EU and the bilateral donors lacked a `serious' commitment. This is indicated by European policies towards South Africa, Kenya, Niger and Algeria. The policies of the Europeans towards Africa in the 1990s have primarily been influenced by security concerns and thus by the narrow national interests of individual donors. This is particularly manifest in the case of France which has a dominating position within the development cooperation of the EU. Thus, only in very few exceptional instances is it in the national interest of European donor states to promote moral issues such as democracy and respect for human rights. In the 1990s such themes have become little more than the rhetoric of politicians and treaties, just as it was during the Cold War.
The ending of the Cold War brought new issues to the development debate. The change from the bipolar international system to multipolarity opened the way for introducing several new themes and instruments into international development aid. After 1989, topics such as democracy and human rights were voiced with rising intensity by the donors.(1) In June 1990, only half a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd gave a speech in which he maintained that economic development and so-called `good governance' go hand in hand in developing countries. And Hurd continued, `economic success depends extensively on the existence of an efficient and honest government, on political pluralism and, I would like to add, respect for the law and free and more open economies'. In the same month, the French president Francois Mitterrand pointed out at a meeting with African heads of state that in the future France would be less liberal in granting assistance to `regimes that have an authoritarian approach without accepting an evolution towards democracy'.(2)
In Europe and in other OECD countries as well, these statements gave impetus to the formulation of demands for political reforms in developing countries towards Western-type democracy, and thereby Europe and the EC/EU came to support the international trend to replace `development' with `democracy' as one of the slogans of its development assistance in the 1990s. On 28 November 1991, the 12 EC member countries adopted a resolution, which stated unequivocally that in the future, democracy and respect for human rights would be conditions for receiving aid from Western Europe (Resolution 10107, 1991). Again in Council resolutions in 1992 and 1993, the European Commission confirmed its commitment to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law in developing countries.
The Treaty on the European Union, the so-called Maastrict Treaty of 1992, explicitly calls attention to democracy and respect for human rights as important aims of the development aid of the European Community (article 130U, section two). In connection with the revision of the Lome arrangement in 1995, the condition of respect for human rights and democracy was also included in the new agreement covering 1995-2000. Thus, article five of the revised Lome IV Convention states:
Respects for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, which underpins relations between the ACP States and the Community and all provisions of the Convention, and governs the domestic and international policies of the contracting parties, shall constitute an essential element of this Convention.
Assessed in the light of these treaties and public statements, there seems to be no doubt that the European donors were serious about their declarations to promote both democracy and respect for human rights in countries receiving aid from `Europe'.(3) The mere size of its development aid programme makes `Europe' one of the most important donors in the world. Hence the importance of the aid policy of the EU and the bilateral European donors. In the first half of the 1990s, the Community accounted for between 7 and 8 percent of total aid, whereas the members accounted for 40 percent. Hence in toto the Commission and the 15 bilateral donors accounted for close to 50 percent of global development aid.(4) In this period, the European Commission together with the 15 bilateral donors accounted for at least 50 percent of the total aid to Sub Saharan Africa and for about 70 percent of the total foreign aid to North Africa.(5) As to EU/European efforts to promote democratic changes in developing countries, Africa has been the most prominent region. The former head of the Directorate General VIII in the Commission with responsibility for development aid to Africa, Hans Smida, emphasized in 1993 that `the Community's support for the democratisation processes in Africa is a practical illustration of its determination to make the promotion of human rights and democracy one of the linchpins of its development policy.(6)
The focus of this article is on how `Europe' acted in the post Cold War period as regards the declared aim of promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa. Attention is given to the question of how serious Europe has been in implementing its policy of imposing political conditionalities to its development aid, and thus the core question is raised as to the basic motives of this particular type of European policy towards Africa. Were the motives the official ones, or is the whole debate on political conditionalities on aid a purely official and academic debate without roots in the real world? The argument of this article is that none of these motives counted. On the contrary, it is argued that European motives for promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Africa were so-called `donor interests'. That is to say, when implementing the policy, the `non-declared' interests of the donor countries themselves were decisive and not the official ones found in treaties and public statements, irrespective of the fundamental changes of the international system which followed the ending of the Cold War.
European policy is here scrutinized by selecting a number of cases which are assumed to be representative of European efforts to encourage democratic changes in Africa. Due to the priority assigned by Europe to development aid to Africa, it is reasonable that the cases selected for discussion all come from Africa with three country examples from sub-Saharan Africa, namely South Africa, Kenya and Niger. In the 1990s, North Africa has been considered one of the most important regions for European foreign policy, and thus it has been receiving more and more attention during the decade. Therefore, one example from North Africa, namely Algeria, is also included in the discussion.
The line of argument of the article is as follows: first, a brief presentation of the debate on aid motivations is given in order to confront these motives with actual European policies towards the four African case studies. There then follows an analysis of the actual policies aimed at promoting democracy and human rights in order to produce the basis for the discussion of the motives for following this policy. The conclusions to the four cases are the basis for generalizations concerning European motives for giving aid to Africa in the post Cold War era and for observations on the kind of validity to be assigned to the declared aims of European politicians and on the number of treaties touching on the question of democracy and human rights in development aid.
Motivations for second generation conditionalities
In the academic debate following the proclamation of the new `political' or `second generation' of aid conditionalities, a number of motives were stressed to explain why these conditionalities were added to economic conditionalities.(7) It was argued that one of the important reasons for introducing democracy and human rights as conditions for aid was to ensure a continued minimum of popular support for aid, since development assistance had lost most of its political rationale with the ending of the Cold War.(8) Another motive was allegedly to establish a set of politically acceptable arguments for cutting aid now that aid no longer served its former political and security purposes.(9) Finally, it is not to be overlooked that the euphoria following the fall of the Communist regimes led to a somewhat arrogant belief that Western political values were the `best' and as such could be exported anywhere.
However, it is the basic argument of this paper that the dissolution of the bipolar international system did not change the fundamental reasons or motivations of the OECD countries for giving aid. The motives for giving aid and also the motives for imposing political conditionalities to aid in the 1990s were basically identical with the motives for giving aid during the Cold War, irrespective of the changes to the international system and irrespective of the official reasons given for introducing the new aid conditionalities. So, what is argued here is that the seemingly dramatic changes of the international system with the fall of communism did not change the fundamental characteristics of state behaviour in the international system, although the rhetoric changed in a more idealistic direction with greater emphasis on the promotion of democracy and human rights. These assumptions are in fundamental agreement with the points of view which are found in the theoretical thinking on international relations, specifically on realism and neo-realism.(10) Neo-realists claim that state actions are basically determined by national interests, in particular by the issue of national security. However, realism and neorealism do not deny that `soft' issues such as human rights and democracy may play role in determining the actions of the state. But such themes will always be secondary to hardcore issues like security and economic interests.
In the international literature on foreign aid, a parallel debate is to be found on the motivations of state actions in the form of aid. For a number of years, one prominent trend in this debate has used two models to explain motives of bilateral donors, namely the so-called `recipient needs' and `donor interests'.(11) `Donor interests' can be summarized as consisting of the following elements: economic interests specifically donor trade and donor investment interests, security interests, political interests including stability and possibly interests in furthering democracy. On the other hand, the `recipient needs' are most often related to the economic and social development of the poor countries measured by the level of real income (GDP per capita), or …