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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There is now a vast comparative literature on Northern development assistance, its purposes, composition, structures, motives, and effectiveness. These writings often include French aid within their comparative framework. But they present a mixed picture of the French case, with qualitative studies portraying it as “deviant,” and variable-led analyses viewing it as “representative.” Drawing on specialist interviews, this chapter challenges these comparative perspectives and, at a time when fresh approaches to international development are desperately needed, paves the way for wider consideration of French ideas on aid. It begins with an overview of the comparative literature on Northern aid before reviewing the comparative scholarship on French assistance. It shows how these writings have missed out on the agenda-setting dimension of French aid, notably its capacity to act as a “model” for other donors and lay the groundwork for future comparative research. It concludes by reconciling “conflicting” views of the French case.

Keywords: France, Africa, aid, development, effectiveness, evaluation, poverty, comparative, blending, innovative financing

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