Weekly round-up

The rise of “southern” aid is a fairly hot topic, see for example the Guardian on the limited to negative impact on the poor of Chinese involvement in Latin America (thanks, Jakub and Julia) or on the South African aid agency as the most recent player, and on how the rise of “southern” aid agencies is driven by foreign policy goals of the ever more assertive BRICS. A defense of Chinese aid can be found over at Aid Thoughts (the comments are also very interesting).

And because the required readings have neglected the UN so far, here are two articles: one about the role of the FAO and the lack of transparency in leadership selection, and one about global governance and the (declining) role of the UN.

Speaking of “non-aligned preferences”, some long overdue round-up of comments about aid to Egypt.

As lessons learned of the week I would suggest two, which hopefully will come in handy when we will be talking about aid effectiveness and the quality of aid:

  • From the readings and class discussion: Realizing the problem of “non-aligned preferences” (diverging interests) and the challenge of intermediation should make you cautious in supporting more accountability for aid agencies. The important thing is to ask “accountability to whom and with what consequences for the other stakeholders”.
  • From the Egypt case: as a rule of thumb, to see whether any kind of intervention has had a positive or negative impact it is important to think about the “counterfactual“: what would have happened in the absence of that intervention? In this case for example you could ask: Did foreign aid contribute to keeping Mubarak in power longer or did it help strengthen the middle class which ultimately rose up against him? Would the military have been more or less likely to resort to violence protesters without foreign/ US military aid? etc.

Feel free to suggest more…

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