Unearthing the Genesis of ODA and Governance: the case of EAC Countries.

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Governance and Official Development Assistance (ODA) have become a buzzword in the ‘ODA-Governance’ literature and attained more significant attraction since SSA’s post-independence era. To assess ODA’s impact on governance and institutional building within the recipient countries, this paper used a Key Informant Interviews, a multi-level institutional analysis and dependency theories to analyze a data from the Transparency International which compiles the perception levels of corruption across different countries, and the World Governance Indicators (WGI) key parameters, including control of corruption, regulatory framework, and political stability in three aid-recipient Eastern African Community (EAC) which were Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania that received aid from either the USA or China. By examining the extent to which ODA inflows help or hinder the hitherto recipient countries’ local, national, and international levels, it found the following findings that may contribute to the prevailing ‘ODA-Governance’ nexus. The paper found the following mixed results. At the local level, the USA’s aid inflows contribute to individuals’ households and foster a sense of empowerment in the recipient households in the EAC. In contrast, Chinese ODA focuses on long-term infrastructure projects and directly engages only the host states. At the national level, neither the Chinese nor the USA’s foreign aid contributes to Kenyan, Ethiopian, or Tanzanian good governance and public institutions as the donor countries prioritize accomplishing their geopolitical interests, which include security and cheaper minerals. At the international level, the thesis found that both the USA and China maintains a strong influence in all the three EAC countries as it incentivizes them to vote according to its wishes at UNSC and other multilateral institutions. Such asymmetrical political relationship weakens the three EAC countries bilateral relationship with the donor countries as it reinforces their acute dependence on China for debt forgiveness and profoundly depends on the USA for security and protection.
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