Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno


World Bank, Agriculture, Africa


This thesis tests the effectiveness of the World Bank’s agricultural-aid policy by examining case studies in Ghana and Ethiopia in the period of 2000-2010. Each study examines the policy context, project/program success, overall human development results, and threats to sustainability, of agricultural aid. The primary hypothesis of the paper is that participatory processes and inclusive institutions will prove to be decisive factors. Each case is tested against this political view of aid in addition to three additional images (Destructive, Ineffective, Effective Technical), in order to ensure a comprehensive review.

The Ghana case showed a lack of participation in forming the development strategy. Projects contributed to agricultural growth and some productivity improvement but failed to enact transformational changes. Threats to sustainability in the case were conflicts between traditional and official authorities, a lack of decentralization, and a persistent north-south inequality. The Ethiopia case showed similar results with regards to participation and project determinants. The major difference was that their threat to sustainability manifested in the form of gross human rights violations due to a resettlement plan.

The technical and political images of aid tested strongly, while the destructive and ineffective did not. The primary hypothesis did not test strongly against the evidence of development progress in light of lack of participation and the similarity of these results across political systems with differing levels of inclusive institutions. Both of these factors did have a material impact on the nature of the threats to sustainability. Recommendations include increasing monitoring and evaluation to ensure technical learning, focusing on long term investments in irrigation, productivity and land reform, engaging in political issues instead of ignoring them, and upholding safeguards in the face of human rights violations.



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