[Updated December 31] Ethiopian donors are considering further probes of allegations, made by Human Rights Watch, that the Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential government programs on support for the ruling party.The allegations were made in a report released on October 19, Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia.
"If you don't play the ruling party's game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid", said Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
However, Irish Aid said on October 26 that its "examination, in consultation with the other major international aid donors in Ethiopia, does not support the Human Rights Watch allegations of widespread, systematic abuse".
John, O'Shea of GOAL said that a reference to GOAL in the report was "totally erroneous" and that GOAL had never encountered aid discrimination in the country, though he described the report as "damning".
The allegations provide a dilemma for donors. They can point to several achievements in recent years, while the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index released last month suggests that Ethiopia has been making strides in tackling corruption. How should donors respond?