chapter  7
8 Pages

A New Approach to Foreign Aid for Tanzania

This book has deconstructed what we mean by accountability through an analysis of its epistemological assumptions. We have critiqued the traditional understanding of accountability; that is, procedural accountability, which focuses on formal contractual mechanisms that are rooted in a principal-agent approach. This approach sees problems as one-sided, and misses a fuller understanding of how accountability operates in complex social contexts, where all parties are facing constraints and the problem is rather how actors can ‘act collectively in their own best interests’ to find solutions (Booth 2012: 11). Relational accountability is embedded within the personal relations between actors who, in turn, respond to social norms. It takes a longer-term perspective and is characterised by rules that can be informal and highly complex and accidental, and that may have evolved over a period of time.