Entrenching democracy, rather than authoritarianism, requires supporting the systems and institutions that enable it, and calibrating aid accordingly.
The headline figures are impressive, as is the generosity of the taxpayers behind them.
Europe spends more than €21-billion in development aid in Africa every year. It is responsible for more than half of all aid globally. There's more. In addition to seven civilian and military European missions deployed across sub-Saharan Africa, the EU has committed no less than €1.4-billion to educational programmes in Africa over the past five years.
Yet there is also frustration in the giving. Much is apparently wasted on the multiplicity of the sources and methods of institutional facilitation.
A report from the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on aid effectiveness published at the end of 2019 showed that while there has been some progress in terms of donor performance since the previous report in 2012, things are far from perfect.
In part, as the OECD report highlights, Europe's problems spring from its aid approach. Much is sprayed around by too many institutions into too many countries and projects, driven by institutional interests and the preferences of its (for the moment)...