Eroding Local Capacity is a critical examination of the interplay between international and local actors operating in the humanitarian arena in Africa. All sides emphasise the need to build local capacity for humanitarian action, yet the results have not been substantial. Even long-term, semi-permanent emergencies have generated little local capacity to assist and protect the victims of violence, displacement and related deprivations. In some cases, whatever local capacity did exist has been overwhelmed by the international aid presence. Why is this so? What is the case for a more even division of labour between North and South in this area, and why is it so difficult to bring about?
The book focuses on cases from East Africa and the Horn. It considers institutional capacity in the public and private sector, as well as legal and social norms of humanitarian action. The authors are African and Nordic scholars who worked together on the NORAD-supported project over a 3-year period. Preliminary conclusions were discussed at seminars organized by the Centre for Foreign Relations (Dar es Salaam), the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town), and the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen).