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The paper argues that the increase in official development assistance to South Africa following its transition to majority rule was largely at the expense of other countries in the region. While this refocusing of aid has been aimed at disadvantaged black groups, it will also reinforce the regional dominance of the South African economy. Aid to Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia has also become far more concentrated on human resource investment than on, for example, assistance for industrial development. It is argued that this will create a skill base which will benefit South African business expansion and which, when placed in the context of liberalised trade regimes, will tend to favour those already well placed in market terms who will often be white, male, and South African. Only a properly coordinated gender- and poverty-sensitive regional aid programme will help to counterbalance the polarisation in favour of established South African business interests that seems the likely consequence of present policies.

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