The politics of government - NGO relations in Africa
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Non-Government organizations (NGOs), deservedly or not, have established a reputation as the leading practitioners of the rural development in Africa. African governments have responded ambiguously to the presence of these new agencies, on the one hand valuing the economic resources NGOs can raise, but resisting political pluralization implied by popular development action. The paper describes the growth of NGOs in Africa and proposes a framework for analysing the dynamics of NGO-government relations. By means of examples drawn mainly from Kenya and Zimbabwe, the paper illustrates the strategies used by governments to exercise control and NGOs to assert autonomy. An argument is made that the contribution of NGOs to development, and the attitude of governments towards the voluntary sector, are determined more by political than economic considerations.