Bilateral donors and aid conditionality in post-conflict peacebuilding: the case of Mozambique

The main thesis of the authors is that scholars tend to focus on the UN missions in peacebuilding and ignore the role donor countries play. They argue that bilateral donors and the conditionalities they place are crucial in peacebuilding processes. They take Mozambique as a case study to illustrate their argument and to show the conditions that create a conducive environment for external actors to place peace conditionalities.
The authors argue that the degree to which bilateral donors act separately from or in concert with the UN mission may supportor undermine the whole peacebuilding mission.
This is a descriptive study and a good source of information about Mozambique’s civil conflict and the peace process. The authors acknowledge that policies and practices of aid donors can be part of the problem as well as part of the solution. They maintain that the greatest obstacle to the effective use of conditionality for peacebuilding is external actors’ lack of sufficient information about the local context.
The authors argue that peace conditionalities will be most successful when;
a) There is a peace agreement signed by all relevant parties,
b) Donors who make use of peace conditionality are well acquainted with economic, social and political conditions in the recipient country,
c) Aid is conditioned on, or offered for, specific, discrete actions, rather than for abstract or complex goals.
Authors show that decades of donor assistance, first from governments sympathetic to FRELIMO’s socialist vision, and later from a broader spectrum of donors, created a group of major donors with substantive knowledge about both the state capacity and the challenges the state would face in post-war reconstruction.
During the severe drought Mozambique experienced in the 1980s, the heat of humanitarian emergency pushed donors to devise several coordination platforms that allowed them to overcome common collective action problems, as well as to circumvent more formal, but often dysfunctional, coordination problems.