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This chapter explores how environmental policies are negotiated, enacted, and executed in the three African contexts. In so doing, it questions the validity of the second most widespread assumption that foreign aid encourages conservation at the national level. The chapter highlights the central role that foreign aid plays in the making of development policies, some more conservation-friendly than others. It also underscores the executive branch’s predominance and foreign donors’ role in environmental policymaking. At the national level, where the primary actors driving environmental policy are African governments, dominated by the executive office, and foreign donors who use aid to sway governments’ development policies, donors’ ability to persuade African governments to commit to conservation-friendly development policies rests on a specific and limited condition: The executive’s and foreign interests must align and be consistent with conservation norms. When this is the case, institutional investments, manifest in institutional proliferation, raise the prospect of forest conservation considerably. When interests do not align, however, institutional proliferation reflects not so much conservation commitments on the part of African leaders as it does their eagerness to convert foreign aid into patronage opportunities that serve them politically. This reality explains the gap between institutional investments and environmental outcomes.
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- Executive Branches and Trees: Environmental Politics at the National Level
Nadia Rabesahala Horning
- Chapter 3