Rethinking foreign aid for socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa

H. Mlambo Victor, Harris Maduku, Bonga Mdletshe, Dniel N. Mlambo, Sphephelo Zubane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foreign aid as a ratio to the Gross Domestic Income for Sub-Saharan (SSA) countries has been on the rise from an estimated 4% in 1970 to around 17-20% in 2013. However, the causality of foreign aid on economic development has been weak for SSA countries. The weak relationship between economic development and foreign aid is what motivates the pursuit of this study. The objective of this paper is to explore the nature of, and if there is a significant part, relationship on the puzzle of foreign aid and economic development in the SSA countries. The study uses a qualitative method employing literature to sift out themes that are of use in order to meet the objective. The findings of the study indicate that foreign aid has been increasing whilst there is no positive response from the economic development front for the aid receiving countries. Also the findings of our study indicate that foreign aid has caused corruption and inefficiency to increase in the aid receiving countries. Lastly, there are countries that have become aid dependent, in funding their budgets, again, and worsening inefficiency. Policy recommendations arising from the findings point mainly to two things. Sub-Saharan countries need to strongly adopt a zero tolerance to corruption so that national resources are devoted to where they benefit the country at large. Secondly, the study recommends that Sub-Saharan countries need to shun aid and start to mobilise resources domestically so that the dependency syndrome can be dealt with.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-290
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican Renaissance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aid
  • Dependency
  • Development
  • Foreign AIDS
  • Sub-Sahara Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations


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