Dependency Theory and Donor Aid: A Critical Analysis





dependency, dependency theory, donor aid, poor countries, richer countries


This article is a theoretical interrogation and appreciation of the relationship that hitherto exists between the dependency theory and donor aid. A number of scholars have heaped aspersions on the relevance of the dependency theory. This article argues that dependency theory is still relevant and has flared in this current epoch. Donor aid has emerged as a symbol of dependency, supporting the argument on the relevance of dependency theory. Donor aid has emerged as a nuanced form of dependency on western countries. Dependency theory, which originated in the 1950s, has Singer and Prebisch as the progenitors – and emerged as a result of the growing dissatisfaction with modernity theories that had propounded that economic growth in developed countries was similarly going to lead to unabated growth and development in poorer countries. The theory is premised on resources being extracted from poorer countries to enrich wealthy nations. The continuation of this scenario has resulted in a situation where poverty has been exacerbated among the poorer nations, while the wealthy nations are becoming richer. Donor aid has, in a plethora of ways, enriched the rich countries while dialectically impoverishing poor countries. It is not an exaggeration that donor money that is being extended to Third World countries, has created more employment, demand for goods and services in richer countries than in poorer countries, thus perpetuating underdevelopment in the latter. Donor aid has undoubtedly, been used as a rod to whip Third World countries at variance, with self-serving interests. On the other hand, the insatiable desire for aid has forced the poorer countries to submit to the dictates of the richer countries.


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How to Cite

KABONGA, ITAI. 2017. “Dependency Theory and Donor Aid: A Critical Analysis”. Africanus: Journal of Development Studies 46 (2):29-39.



Received 2016-05-11
Accepted 2017-07-30
Published 2017-10-26