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The 'Uses and Abuses' of Civil Society in Africa


By Julie Hearn

The 'Uses And Abuses' Of Civil Society In Africa[1] 

Let us take current identification of civil society with autonomous social forces as a basis for discussion and examine its implications... In a 'bottom-up' sense, civil society is the realm in which those who are disadvantaged by globalization of the world economy can mount their protests and seek alternatives... In a 'top-down' sense, however, states and corporate interests influence the development of this current version of civil society towards making it an agency for stabilizing the social and political status quo[2].

The term 'civil society' has had a long and chequered history.  Bratton cites Pelczynski who comments that 'few social and political concepts have travelled so far in their life and changed their meaning so much.'[3]  Within the African context, many commentators have written about the 'conceptual confusion' surrounding the term and have critiqued it on the counts of theoretical clarity, analytical application and simple ideological role, being the deeply pluralist term that it is.[4]  This paper takes Cox's starting-point that 'there is little point in arguing that one usage of the term 'civil society' is correct and the other is wrong' but instead 'let us take current identification of civil society with autonomous social forces as a basis for discussion and examine its implications.'

This paper argues that autonomy is an essential, yet side-lined, feature of civil society.  The current development paradigm in Africa is about bringing civil society into a closer and closer relationship with states, both national and international, and has very little to say about the importance of keeping a critical distance.  Writing from a Ugandan perspective, where the process has perhaps gone the furthest, policy-making and implementation are predicated on the 'compliancy nature of the triad relationship between the state, donors and civil society.'[5]

As Abugre notes:

'''Partnership' is at the centre of the so-called 'new agenda for development assistance'... Central to this new agenda is a framework where 'civil society organisations' (including but not restricted to NGOs) are expected to work in 'partnership' with 'participatory and accountable' governments' as the 'only means of ensuring and sustaining participatory,equitable and sustainable development.'''[6]

The paper explores how the current development paradigm of 'partnership' destroys autonomy, the very feature that makes civil society what it is. The paper shows how the courtship and funding of non-state actors, by the paradigm, not only makes a charade of the idea of civil society but ensures that the current version of civil society in Africa becomes an agency for stabilising rather than challenging the social and political status quo.

The paper does this by looking at three quite distinct national contexts and examining the relationship between the dominant development project in each, undertaken by the government in 'strategic collaboration' with donors, and civil society.  We focus on that section of civil society that is actively engaging with the national project.  It is also no coincidence that it is amongst the most well funded sections, almost completely donor dependent, and identifies itself very self-consciously in the new language of 'civil society'.[7]  We begin with Ghana in 1997.  The national context is characterised by an attempt to build societal consensus around 'accelerated adjustment' in the hope that this will propel it toward middle-income status by the year 2020.  We examine how Ghanaian civil society has responded to this.  We then survey the South African context in 1998, which is characterised by building consensus around the legitimacy of the new South African state, premised on notions of limited liberal democracy, eschewing any remnants of social democracy, which many South Africans fought and died for.  We explore how an important section of civil society has played a role in that process.  Finally, Uganda in 2000 is the model country par excellence for the latest 'partnership' project, 'poverty reduction', and we investigate civil society's response.

It is interesting that although civil society responds to the specific political and economic context of each country, it ends up actually performing the same function.  In Ghana it promotes yet more poverty-inducing adjustment with no guarantees of gain for the pain.  In other words, it 'sells' austerity without development to Ghanaians.  In South Africa it is engaged in convincing South Africans not to equate 'democracy' with expectations for a better material life.  Again, this amounts to 'selling' austerity.  In Uganda, it ensures that poverty reduction is the order of the day, which appears to avoid development in favour of living better 'within your means'.  In other words, current 'poverty reduction' looks alarmingly like adjustment to poverty.  Therefore, whether it is championing more low/no-intensity democracy or low/no-intensity development, civil society becomes an important agency for stabilizing the status quo in Africa, which is abject poverty with no prospects for social transformation.

Engineering Consensus and the New Politics of Adjustment in Ghana.

''Other ... political risks include growing polarization within the Ghanaian polity and perhaps an associated risk that a legally sanctioned change of government could have totally opposing development views and reverse long-term policies.  USAID assistance to civic organisations that develop and debate public policy, and U.S. support for consultation on government policies have been useful in shaping a vision for Ghana's future which is developing broad, bipartisan support.''[8]

Ghana's leading role, initially, as an economic reformer, and, more recently, as a democratic reformer, made it an important African country for the donor community, particularly in the mid-1990s.  As an article in the Financial Times (9 July 1996) noted, 'if Ghana falters in its trailblazing role ... the credibility of the donors' development strategy for Africa will also be eroded.'  Ghana is currently undertaking an ambitious economic restructuring programme, known as Ghana-Vision 2020, in an effort to transform itself into a middle-income country by the year 2020.  This requires increasing economic growth rates to well above seven per cent per annum.[9]  As the World Bank's 1996 Ghana Country Assistance Review notes the economic restructuring of the past decade cannot be sustained unless 'the implementation of a large unfinished agenda of adjustment is accelerated in the short run'.[10]  Since their inception in the early 1980s, structural adjustment programs have been in the words of Kraus 'the most contentious issue in African political economy.'[11]  Nationwide demonstrations in May 1995 against value added tax (VAT) in which five protestors were shot dead and the finance minister, Kwesi Botchwey, who had been responsible for the Economic Recovery Programme since the early 1980s, resigned, became the flash-point for the struggle over structural adjustment.

The VAT demonstrations were a turning-point for the Rawlings government.  The lesson which they and the donors learnt was that implementing difficult economic policy requires consensus within society.  With a view to building support around the re-introduction of VAT, the government organised a two-day National Economic Forum in September 1997.[12]  Under the theme, 'Achieving national consensus on policy measures for accelerated economic growth within the framework of Ghana Vision 2020', the forum brought together over 150 organisations and institutions. The discussion generated by the Economic Forum and Ghana 2020 is peppered with references to hard choices, the absence of soft options and the need for sacrifices. The emphasis on national consensus and unity of purpose is also a reflection of the political context, Ghana's new multi-party democracy.  As one distinguished Ghanaian commentator explained in a televised panel discussion at the time of the national forum, because everyone is expressing their own views, there is an increased need to ultimately bring those views together for political stability. In its outlook for 1998, the Economist Intelligence Unit comments that the most formidable challenges facing the government in the coming year are the introduction of VAT and public sector reforms.  It concludes: 'In the face of domestic opposition to these measures, a popular consensus in their favour will have to be forged in parliament and the country at large.'[13]

An important question to briefly address is: why such an emphasis on consensus now?  Brinkerhoff and Kulibaba suggest that, on the African continent, in general:

''As the trajectory of economic reform moves from the earlier stages of stabilization, usually managed by a small team of technocrats, to liberalisation and, ultimately, long-haul consolidation, where much larger numbers of actors are involved, African decision-makers and policy managers increasingly face the requirement of building coalitions and managing consensus.''[14]

These sentiments are echoed by the World Bank in Ghana:

''In the 1980s, the Bank dealt with a small group of leaders and technocrats accountable to an unelected head of state.  In the 1990s, Ghana has an increasingly active parliament ... and new forms of decentralised organisation and accountability.  The political reforms may slow decision-making and policy implementation in the short-term.  But insofar as they broaden the 'ownership' ... they will serve to deepen and to speed development over the long-term.''[15]

USAID's analysis is similar:

''The sweep, swiftness and success of the 1983 Economic Recovery Program may be attributed to the mandate given to a small and well qualified group of presidential and ministerial advisors.  Although dramatic policy changes have been made, in order for Ghana to realize 7 percent growth, bold new initiatives in policy reform are required...  Further, the maturing of democratic institutions means that a much more intensive process of consultation and consensus-building is required.''[16]

This consensus-building process includes challenging economic policy formation as the sole preserve of the government and opening it up to other actors.  'Parliament, business and labor interests and civil society are now parties to policy formulation'. This began with sponsoring the first four independent analyses of the economy by the Centre for Economic Policy Analysis (CEPA).  USAID notes that 'Improvements are needed in public and private sector capacity to analyze policy questions and to participate in consensus-building; in mechanisms for public-private consultation'.[17]  USAID will 'support a participatory approach to policy change' which is 'process-driven in contrast to the traditional conditionality and output driven formula', and which places 'greater emphasis on stimulating Ghanaians - public and private - to drive the policy change process'.[18]  USAID's role will include 'support to local research institutions and private and civic organisations, to strengthen their capacity to participate in the policy change process'. [19] It concludes that 'this process approach will help institutionalize tools and for a for policy change, that will improve policy management and improve sustainability of policy change'.[20]

One of the most important recent developments in USAID's attempt to bring other actors into the economic policy-formation process was the aforementioned two-day National Economic Forum, opened by President Rawlings, in Accra in September 1997.  We had spoken to USAID the week before, who were very excited about the Forum, and explained that it was very much a part of their programme to support civil society in Ghana through private sector actors like PEF.  Indeed, earlier in 1997, USAID had sponsored a meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for 65 public and private actors, to which the Economic Forum was a follow-up.  There was, controversy over who the official organisers of the Forum were.  The director of the National Development Planning Commission gave a press conference in which he stated that the initiative for the Forum had come from the Commission rather than PEF.  On the same day, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry went on prime-time TV to say: 'It has never been the intention of the USAID to hijack the economic development policy of this country and run it for Ghana.'

With the World Bank, the U.S. has been at the forefront of bringing civil society into the economic policy process in order to broaden consensus around Ghana's "accelerated" structural adjustment.  We have argued that this is an important and, as yet, undocumented objective of Western civil society assistance in Ghana.  We can see the relative importance of this objective when we examine the kinds of CSOs being supported by donors as well as those that receive the most funding.  The Institute of Economic Affairs, whose brief is to promote economic liberalism, has the highest number of foreign donors.  It has "cross-donor" support, receiving funding from at least seven different Western governments.  The funding has also been substantial.  The U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has provided the IEA with over $500,000 between 1992 and 1997 for work promoting the role of the private sector within parliament and among the public.[21]  Between 1995 and 1997 Denmark provided almost the same amount of funding for a programme of roundtables and discussions between government, the opposition and other organisations to discuss Ghana's economic policy.  This funding is in a substantially different league from grants of less than $10,000 to the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), for example.

In 1994 Callaghy observed that in most places in Africa, there are few social constituencies for economic reform.[22]  Gyimah-Boadi makes the same observation: "The contribution of civil society to democratic consolidation is even more disappointing in the key areas of economic reform and development."  He notes the "absence of decisive coalitions in favor of economic reform" and that "a consensus between governments and civil societies remains elusive'.[23]  Our research suggests that such a consensus may no longer prove so elusive as a result of foreign donor support to civil society in Ghana.   Instead of civil society being a hinderance to economic reform, as Gyimah-Boadi suggests that it is at present, donors see its potential in broadening support for the reform process.  In Mozambique, Hall and Young observe: "Aid is being deliberately directed to assist in the construction of new social groups committed to the market economy."[24]

Civil society's ability to promote consensus around restructuring forms the subject of the new politics of adjustment in the late 1990s in a context where adjustment is pursued through liberal democracy rather than authoritarianism.

From Social Democracy to Liberal Democracy in South Africa[25]

Perhaps more than at any other time in the recent past, it is now that the struggle to define 'democracy' has become a major ideological battle.[26]

For the majority of South Africans the struggle against apartheid was conducted in terms of the establishment of an economically different society, influenced by socialist, redistributionist paradigms, that would directly re-dress the gross material inequality left by apartheid.  As Mattes and Thiel explain:

''While "one man, one vote" was always the goal, the key liberation movements subscribed to and spread to their poverty-stricken followers an economic, as opposed to a procedural view of democracy.''[27]

In their analysis of public opinion polls taken on "democracy" they note that whilst only 27 per cent rated as essential such key procedural elements of democracy as regular elections, 48 per cent said that equal access to houses, jobs, and a decent income was "essential" to democracy. However, this is not the kind of democracy that the majority of South Africans have experienced.  It is clear that neither the West nor the ANC wanted to see the kind of radical, thorough-going reconstruction of society that would be needed to provide the majority of South Africans with houses, jobs and a decent income.  Instead, every effort was made to ensure a political settlement that would allow the passage from racial to non-racial capitalism in South Africa.   One aspect of reconciling South Africans to what the New South Africa would actually entail, meant telling them that what they thought democracy meant was incorrect.  Democracy as the equivalent to a better life, a release from grinding poverty and economic exclusion was replaced with liberal democracy or polyarchy which Robinson defines as 'elite minority rule and socioeconomic inequalities alongside formal political freedom and elections involving universal sufferage.'[28]

Mattes and Thiel conclude that in an attempt to root liberal democracy:

''... one might urge South Africa's educational system, civil society, and political parties to shift their emphasis ... to the ... task of teaching people to value democratic institutions and processes more for their own sake than for what they may deliver in terms of immediate and tangible benefits.''[29]

What is interesting in South Africa, compared to other African countries, is the number and calibre of civil society organisations (CSOs) geared towards doing precisely that, encouraging a popular commitment to procedural democracy.  What is more, these kinds of CSOs feature predominantly in donor political aid programs.  In our research we asked over a dozen different foreign donors what kind of civil society organisations they funded through their democracy assistance.  There were five main categories: democracy organisations, concerned with the overall relationship between states and citizens; human rights and legal aid groups; conflict resolution agencies; organisations servicing or representing the non-governmental sector; and think tanks.  Of these categories, democracy organisations were the largest.  Not only were they the most numerous, but they also received the largest amounts of aid and were supported by the broadest cross-section of donors.

The most prominent is Idasa.  Which is fully committed to procedural democracy.  It is now an organisation of a staff of 140 and it is probably also the most donor funded CSO in South Africa.  The other organisations are the Institute for Multiparty Democracy, whose name could not be more indicative of procedural democracy, and Khululekani Instiute for Democracy, aimed at bringing parliament closer to the people.  A fourth, the Electoral Institute of South Africa deals with that key aspect of procedural democracy.  A fifth, the Helen Suzman foundation, undertakes similar democracy surveys to Idasa, and has a map of Southern Africa on the back of its quarterly enblazed with "promoting liberal democracy" (Focus 1998: 22-28).  A sixth, the South African Institute of Race Relations has a foreign donor funded Free Society project which aims to monitor South Africa's democratic development and to promote the rule of law, ethics, justice, the concept of limited government, and economic freedom.  As a 1995 project description, written by one of its foreign funders, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy explains: the programme will inform key government and non-government officials on activities that hinder the development of a free society. The project seeks to achieve these aims through three principal means:  (1) publishing "Frontiers of Freedom", a quarterly newsletter; (2) sponsoring specific research projects; and (3) hosting and attending special events including briefings and lectures, frequently in conjunction with other non-profit institutions.

It is not altogether surprising to find out that these civil society organisations at the forefront of promoting procedural democracy are very much part of the South African liberal landscape.  The South African Institute of Race Relations is one of the oldest liberal institutions in the country.  The Helen Suzman foundation is named after, arguably, the most prominent South African liberal politician.  Idasa was started in 1987 van Zyl Slabbert, former leader of the opposition and Alex Boraine, former Progressive Federal Party M.P.  What these CSOs have done is to put procedural democracy high up on the agenda for civil society, and for the nation, and to establish the terms of the debate.  This is not surprising given the resources allocated to them by the international donor community.  Idasa has received grants not simply of tens of thousands of dollars, but of a million dollars.  In 1996 it received $1.165 million from the Ford Foundation.  This is an exceptionally large grant by the Foundation's standards, which normally provides grants from $200,000 to $50,000 to CSOs in Africa, and is by far the largest grant to any grantee in South Africa.  At the same time Idasa received a $1 million grant from USAID for a two year period.  The South African Institute of Race Relations and the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy received similar grants from USAID over the same period.

How has civil society interacted with the New South Africa?  First, it has changed the debate on democracy.  During the past five years, it is possible to see a process in which democracy has been redefined.  Although half of South Africans still belief that access to housing, jobs and a decent income are essential components of a democratic society, this residual belief in social democracy is being eroded and replaced by the norms and practice of procedural democracy. It is our argument that the North has played its role in this process, by funding the liberal proponents of procedural democracy in civil society, and that, subsequently, political aid has successfully 'influenced the rules of the game.'  The second consequence is that this has facilitated a newly legitimatised South African state to preside over the same intensely exploitative economic system, but this time without heavily mobilised opposition.  External and domestic support for procedural democracy has successfully removed all significant challenges to the system.  It has ensured that democracy in the new South Africa is not about reconstructing the social order but about effective system-maintenance.

From Direct to Indirect Service Provider in Uganda

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, civil society played an immensely important role in 'filling the gaps' left by government in basic service provision.  Dicklich writes about the 'economics and politics of survival', which resulted in citizen withdrawal from the public sphere and a retreat into economic survival activities.[30]  Much organised social activity, either initiated by international NGOs or by local networks, was geared towards basic survival needs.[31]  This was crucial to both donors, with their obsession with the minimal state, and the government of Uganda, which needed to maintain a modicum of legitimacy.  However, in the late 1990s the model has changed.  Donors have regained confidence in some African states, to some extent, because they have spent the last decade re-forming them, and believe that they have governments who can cooperate in 'strategic collaboration' with them in meeting, what has become the development orthodoxy of the new millennium, international development targets.  These poverty-focused targets move the discussion away from the creation of national wealth to the distribution of existing, grossly inadequate, national resources.  Donors have found in the government of Uganda, an African 'partner' willing to be the 'star pupil' for its latest 'development' paradigm.[32]  Now that the state is once again seen as the main instrument through which basic services should be provided, spearheading the 'poverty reduction' agenda, what is the role of civil society?

It could be argued that donors and government see the role of civil society as providing the service of 'accountability'.  Foreign aid is no longer channeled through NGOs but is provided directly to government through sector budgets and CSOs act as external monitors ensuring that current poverty reduction policies are implemented accountably.  After all 'transparency' was always cited as an important reason for using NGOs rather than government.  On one level providing 'monitoring' and 'accountability' is a confrontational role as CSOs must expose irregularities and challenge powerful interests, but on a more fundamental level their participation is welcomed as it contributes to efficient service delivery.  They may not be the direct service providers in the new paradigm but they play an important role in ensuring that the services are delivered efficiently and that the paradigm works.  This is a legitimating role rather than a critical role and again they are valued by international and national states as implementors, not critics.  We can see this role at the level of centrally led 'pro-poor' policy development and implementation and at local government level.

The poverty reduction agenda is tailor-made for bringing civil society as a third partner into the close working relationship between donors and African governments.  Poverty is the business of NGOs, it is supposedly what they have a comparative advantage in and their insights can help to shape policy and their commitment can help to enforce it.  The beginnings of this new, closer, civil society collaboration over poverty policy began with the Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment Project (UPPAP) in 1997 involving nine CSOs.  Since then, the Poverty Monitoring and Analysis Unit in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has strengthened relations with CSOs.  The Poverty Action Fund (PAF), use of funds from HIPC debt relief, 'output oriented' budgeting and tax policy are the main areas in which civil society is currently involved.  The Uganda Debt Network is a key actor in this process.[33]

With the ongoing decentralisation process, different sectoral activities, including health, education and water and sanitation, are increasingly implemented by local government.  USAID has recently set up a large-scale programme to train civil society organisations to monitor local resource allocation.[34]  When it shared its plans with government, the immediate, horrified response was that it was training a 'cadre of complainers'.  USAID had to assure government that the CSOs would work in cooperation with local government and their actions could help make local government more effective in executing its responsibilities.  This kind of 'partnership', however, blunts independent criticism.  Likewise, some NGOs envisaged evolving into sub-contractors to government in the new paradigm, where they deliver direct services but are contracted by the government not donors.  Quite rightly, they asked how could they agitate on government policy when their livelihoods depended on government contracts?

This illustrates a view that emerged from several interviews that government is open to CSOs when their activities contribute to the positive impact of current poverty reduction policies and programmes as implementers and monitors.  It was felt that government was willing to allow CSOs to participate in the policy process as long as they confined themselves to the space and issues allowed by government.  This meant not getting involved in 'politics' or threatening any fundamental positions taken by government on issues such as debt, land and political systems.  A somewhat artificial distinction is therefore created between civil and political issues.  One interpretation of why the NGO Forum was not allowed to register in December 1999 by the Minister for Internal Affairs is that the government is concerned that one united umbrella group 'may become a force to be reckoned with.'  This unease with organised interest groups outside of the state, that have the potential for popular mobilisation, is reflected in another example.  The government felt threatened by the potential mobilisation of rural women, by the women's movement, around the joint-clause regarding land ownership.

When we asked one of the donors, with the most experience of working with civil society in Uganda, if they could recount any examples of CSOs openly challenging powerful international actors, they could not think of one.  However, they did point out that parliament had questioned their role, on several occasions.  The executive has had World Bank credit requests rejected by parliament, including a $20 million nutrition and early childhood development (NECD) loan.  The role of multilateral loans as a way of funding development has been raised by a motion that calls for no more multilateral credits until past credits have been accounted for to parliament (reported on Ugandan TV, 23 March 2000).  These kind of issues go to the heart of Uganda's national economic policy.  The US power company, AES' plans for a hydro-electric power plant were delayed by more than six months as parliament undertook an investigation.  Another case in which the actions and interests of the US came under scrutiny was when the Co-operative Bank, a 'partner' of USAID, came under investigation.

Parliament may therefore offer more autonomy than civil society.  This is because it is not dependent in the same way on foreign donors as most of Uganda's CSOs are and because its mandate is to be a critical voice vis a vis the executive, not an implementing partner.  Donor funding supports the physical rehabilitation of parliament and its more efficient management but it is not involved in the design of programmes nor does it therefore need to ask MPs to account for their activities.  It therefore has some greater degree of insulation from donor priorities.

What these examples, from the Ghanaian, South African and Ugandan contexts, illustrate is the limitations for civil society of 'partnership', in its various guises, from consensual structural adjustment to monitoring the poverty reduction agenda.  The continued ideological appeal to partnership, as a model, increases those limitations and erodes the potential to fundamentally challenge the status quo.  The dynamic explored in this paper certainly does not apply to all organised interest groups but it does illustrate how powerful Northern states create and influence significant social groupings in Africa in order to use 'civil society' as a vehicle for stabilizing the existing order.[35]  If we can draw one conclusion it is that autonomous social forces are more urgently needed than ever before in Africa yet are as absent as never before.  And, perhaps, the identification of 'autonomous social forces' with the current version of civil society is a spurious assumption to begin with.

[This draft paper is based on research carried out in Ghana, South Africa and Uganda between 1997 and 2000.  Particular thanks go to Barrie Collins, John Pender, Mike Hamilton, Philip Fergusson, Nyangabyaki Bazaara, Joe Oloka-Onyango, Nazneen Kanji, Henry Manyire and dissenting students at LSE for sharing thoughts and ideas.  The usual disclaimers apply.  Please contact Julie Hearn before citing.]

[1] Ellen Meiskins Wood (1990) 'The Uses and Abuses of "Civil Society"', Socialist Register. Merlin Press

[2] Cox, R. (1999) 'Civil society at the turn of the millennium: prospects for an   alternative world order', Review of International Studies 25(1), pp. 10-11.

[3] Bratton, M. (1994) 'Civil society and political transitions in Africa' in Harbeson, J. et al (eds.) Civil Society and the State in Africa, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, p. 52.

[4] Oloka-Onyango, J. & Barya, J. (1997) 'Civil society and the political economy of aid in Uganda', Democratization 4(2), pp. 113-38; Allen, C. 'Who Needs Civil Society?' Review of African Political Economy 73, pp. 329-37; Hearn, J. & Robinson, M. (2000) 'Civil Society and Democracy Assistance in Africa' in Burnell, P. (ed.) Globalising Democracy, London: Frank Cass.

5Muhereza, F.  & Kyomugisha, C. (1999) 'Civil Society, Empowerment and Poverty Reduction', CBR Workshop Report no. 11, Kampala.

[6] Abugre, C. 'Partners, Collaborators or Patron-Clients: Defining Relationships in the Aid Industry' mimeo, nd, p. 1.

[7] For empirical detail on who funds, is funded and how much, see Hearn, J. (1999) 'Foreign Aid, Democratisation and Civil Society in Africa: A Study of South Africa, Ghana and Uganda', IDS Discussion Paper no. 368; Hearn, J. (1999) 'Foreign Political Aid, Democratisation and Civil Society in Uganda in the 1990s' CBR Working Paper no. 53, Kampala.

[8] USAID 1997, Ghana Country Assistance Strategy, Washington, DC: USAID, p. 11.

[9] USAID (1997) Ghana Country Assistance Strategy, Washington, DC: USAID, p. 21

[10]Armstrong, R. (1996) Ghana Country Assistance Review: A Study in Development Effectiveness, Washington, D.C.:  The World Bank, p. 1.

[11] Kraus, J. (1991) 'The struggle over structural adjustment in Ghana.' Africa Today 38(4), p. 19.

[12] See reporting of it in 3 September 1997 Ghanaian Times; Daily Graphic; 8-14 September 1997;

[13] Public Agenda.  (1997), p. 3.

[14] Brinkerhoff, D. & Kulibaba, N. (1996) "Perspectives on Participation in Economic Policy Reform", Studies in Comparative International Development 31(3), p. 125.


[16] USAID (1997), p. 23.

[17] USAID (1997), p. 23.

[18] USAID (1997), p. 29.

[19] USAID (1997), p. 30.

[20] USAID (1997), pp. 29-30.

[21] NED database on its web-page.

[22] Callaghy, T. (1994) 'Civil Society, Democracy, and Economic Change in Africa: A Dissenting Opinion about Resurgent Societies' in Harbeson, J. et al. (eds.) Civil Society and the State in Africa, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, p. 246.

[23] Gyimah-Boadi, E. (1996) "Civil Society in Africa", Journal of Democracy 7(2), pp. 121, 122.

[24] Hall, M. & Young, T. (1997) Confronting Leviathan: Mozambique since Independence, London: Hurst & Co.

[25] For a fuller discussion see Hearn, J. (2000) 'Aiding Democracy? Donors and Civil Society in South Africa', Third World Quarterly, 21(5), forthcoming.

[26] Gills, B. et al (eds.) (1993) Low Intensity Democracy: Political Power in the New World Order, London: Pluto Press.

[27] Mattes, R. & Thiel, H. 'Consolidation and Public Opinion in South Africa'

[28] Robinson, W. (1996) Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention and Hegemony, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 356.

[29] Mattes, R. & Thiel, H. (1998)

[30] Dicklich, S. (1998) 'Indigenous NGOs and Political Participation' in Hansen, H. & Twaddle, M. (eds) Developing Uganda, Oxford: James Currey.  See Dicklich, S. (1998) The Elusive Promise of NGOs for a fuller discussion.

[31] A cautionary note: according to Bazaara, it is 'not correct to assume that all civil society organisations arose to fill the gap created by state failure. Many organisations were formed to serve different purposes.' Muhereza, F. & Kyomugisha, C. (1999) 'Civil Society, Empowerment and Poverty Reduction', CBR Workshop Report no. 11, p. 4.

[32] Uganda's continued heavy military involvement in the DRC has been a disappointment to donors.  However, speaking to the assembled donors at the country's most recent Consultative Group meeting in March 2000, President Museveni justified his military adventure not only in terms of defending the country's borders but that it was contributing to reducing poverty!

[33] Uganda Debt Network (1999) 'The Debt Bulletin' 2(1).

[34] This programme is modelled on a similiarly ambitious USAID project carried out in Ghana in the late 1990s.  See Hearn, J. (2000) 'The US Democratic Experiment in Ghana' in Frost, D. et al (eds.) Africa at the Millennium, London: Pluto Press for a fuller discussion.

[35] For a discussion of other actors see Saul, J. & Leys, C. (1999) 'Sub-Saharan Africa in Global Capitalism', Monthly Review, July - August.


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