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Aid Dependence in CambodiaHow Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy$
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Sophal Ear

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161121

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161121.001.0001

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(p.133) Conclusion
Aid Dependence in Cambodia

Sophal Ear

Columbia University Press

This book has explored the relationship between aid dependence and governance in Cambodia. Aid dependence, poor governance, economic growth without development, weak health infrastructure and surveillance, and shallow democracy are five new types of metaphorical hungers felt by Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge maxim that hunger is the most effective disease applies. Cambodia’s experience suggests that political stability alone is far from sufficient for sustainable development. The deeply troubled UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal now taking place in Cambodia is on the verge of collapse. The dismal quality of Cambodia’s governance is largely the result of the government’s own lack of political will and poor leadership. Yet foreign aid also bears some responsibility for this outcome. With respect to control of corruption and rule of law, Cambodia may be further now from progress than it was a decade ago. It is also apparent that official development assistance has made it more feasible, through fungibility, to divert resources and to enable corruption. The challenge is to decrease aid dependence while improving livelihoods.

Keywords:   aid dependence, governance, Cambodia, economic growth, democracy, political stability, sustainable development, Khmer Rouge Tribunal, foreign aid, corruption

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