What happens when development cooperation becomes development competition


Brookings  | Fri, Nov 16, 2018

by Scott Morris


Scott Morris is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and director of the US Development Policy Initiative

Development cooperation has been a common thread running through the geography of aid agreements of recent years: from the Busan Partnership to the Paris Declaration and on to the Accra Agenda. If there is one thing that major donor countries have agreed on, it’s the need to cooperate, with developing country “partners” and with each other when it comes to the delivery of development assistance.

The cooperation agenda itself is a corrective to an earlier era of aid, when donors were as likely to lean on foreign aid to carry out a form of ideological competition during the Cold War or, just as often, a commercial one. Careful and hard-fought agreements to curb the practice of tied aid that favored donor country commercial interests over development progress in poorer countries are the tangible outcomes that give force to the principle of cooperation over competition.

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