Foreign aid and rural development in Uganda: an evaluation of DANIDA’s support for Rakai District, 1992-2005
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Faced with the problem of persistent poverty and under development in Uganda, the study sought to investigate the role of foreign aid and rural development in Rakai district in Kyotera and Byakabanda sub-counties. The study employed the Big Push theory as cited by Pass and Daves (1993) that puts emphasis on increasing aid in developing countries if the vicious cycle of poverty is to be broken and hence development realised as supported by some scholars. The study was guided by four objectives that included, establishing the nature of DANIDA’s support to Rakai district, finding out the nature of projects supported by DANIDA in Rakai district, evaluating the capacity of Rakai district local government to absorb foreign aid and finally, investigating the relationship between DANIDA and other development agencies in Rakai district. Following a case study, descriptive and observation design, primary data was collected from the respondents and key informants using questionnaires as well as interview guides to get the information required. Simple random and purposive sampling methods were used to select the sample population. Data analysis used descriptive statistics to illustrate tendencies. Opinion and content analysis was used for qualitative data presentation and analysis, which indicated that results of the study were statistically significant. It was concluded that the nature of aid donated to developing counties is crucial for effective development to occur in the area but this must also be followed with right quantity, good policies from both the donors and receiving countries and proper management for effective implementation. The study also concluded that the nature of projects implemented play an important role as far as bringing about development is concerned whether directly or indirectly affecting the community. Such projects included, the roads, health, education, agriculture, capacity building and credit extension, all of which saw a great improvement in Rakai district. It was also concluded that the capacity of the district to effectively utilise the resources extended is one of the important components that needs serious consideration by both the donors and the recipients if socio-economic transformation of the society is to be realised, hence development. This must also be followed by cooperation between the donors and other developing agencies in the area to avoid duplication of projects and ensure achievement of results for the common goal. The study, therefore, recommends that foreign aid should be followed with the right type, good policies, right projects and proper management in terms of capacity for effective social, economic transformation to occur in the area. With this in consideration, corruption, embezzlement and fraud will be minimised, cooperation promoted, capacity to utilise the resources ensured and hence achievement of results.