Patterns of Agricultural Development and Foreign Aid to Zambia

William Smith, Adrian Wood

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Evaluation of individual aid projects and examination of international aid flows have generated substantial research effort. Lack of data, however, and the difficulty of separating aid from other forces for change have hindered analysis. The rural areas of Africa are littered with projects financed by foreign donors, yet the value of aid remains in doubt (see Cotter 1979; Dumont 1979; Carty & Smith 1981). A subject that has received little attention is how the blend of political, economic and social concerns which promote the flow of aid, influence the regional pattern of development within any one country. Using Zambia as an example, it is argued here that in the face of deteriorating economic and social conditions, foreign aid has taken on a new and significant role. Circumstantial pressures, attempts by Zambia to organize the flow of assistance to the rural sector and by donors to rationalize their contributions, combined with distinctive patterns of donor skills and interests, have led to regional and sectoral specialization within the rural economy. This is not without merit. However, it is threatening to produce an effective partitioning of the rural areas along lines drawn by donor states. This is leading to differential emphases in rural development in different localities which could increase regional disparities and thwart future attempts to develop coherent, national, rural development planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-434
Number of pages30
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1984
Externally publishedYes


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