The various dynamics that define aid provision and funding to developing countries often feature as points of critical discussion when it comes to grasping the complex causes of underdevelopment, and its impact on women’s opportunities to live quality lives. In short, aid is never provided only to improve lives, but also to advance some other goals. Aid providers such as foreign governments have certain requirements that the recipients of the aid must fulfil, if they wish to be granted the funds.
The European Union is the world’s largest provider of development assistance and the main trading partner of developing countries. In 2005, the EU committed itself to double its current level of Official Development Assistance by 2010. The 25 EU Member States’ ODA totalled €43 billion in 2005.
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Are South Africans using their democratic rights to hold their government to account and to ensure that it responds to them? Are foreign aid donors, who repeatedly stress their support for South Africa’s new democracy, using their resources to help citizens to do that and to ensure that the democratic system works for them?