Skip to content

Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Internationally coordinated tax regimes

Interview with Antonio Tujan Jr.

[Introducction]: Ahead of the UN’s Financing for Development Review Conference in Doha, Antonio Tujan Jr. of the IBON Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Manila, assessed donors’ track record in an interview with Hans Dembowski. He demands more policy space for the governments of developing countries, and urges donors to expand debt relief.

To read the full interview, click here

¿Hacia dónde van las relaciones entre América Latina y la Unión Europea? Cohesión social y Acuerdos de AsociaciÃ


En el presente documento la Asociación Latinoamericana de Organizaciones de Promoción al Desarrollo (ALOP) se propone dar a conocer una serie de planteos institucionales sobre dos aspectos centrales de las relaciones birregionales entre América Latina y la Unión Europea: la cohesión social y los Acuerdos de Asociación (AdA) -vigentes y/o en negociación- entre distintos países y bloques regionales de América Latina. Estos temas constituyen una parte muy importante, aunque no completa, de la agenda actual de las relaciones entre ambas regiones
Se incluyen en la presente publicación, seis textos que constituyen sólo una parte de todos los análisis, reflexiones, propuestas, etc. que ALOP ha desarrollado en los últimos años sobre los temas de la cohesión social y de los AdA. Se trata tanto de iniciativas propias de la Asociación, como de acciones desarrolladas a través de varias alianzas estratégicas con otras organizaciones amigas, a nivel latinoamericano como ante autoridades europeas (Parlamento, Consejo y Comisión Europeos).

Para leer el artículo completo, haga click aquí

The myth of NGO superiority

By Peter Nunnenkamp

In this article, the author replies to Kishore Mahbubani’s article -The myth of western aid- by stressing that it is easy to lament the stinginess and selfishness of official donors. At the same time, he points out that there is also a myth around the performance of Non Guvernamental Organisations (NGOs).
’While donors provide critics with the data needed to expose the flaws of official development assistance (ODA), it is different with NGOs. Their aid is certainly relevant, but its allocation has hardly been mapped, let alone explained. The main reason is that sufficiently detailed data are hard to come by. After all, NGOs probably do not want critical analysis to tarnish their image of being superior donors.
Recent research suggests that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) do not provide better targeted or more efficient aid than state-run development agencies. They do not seem to even try to outperform the latter by focussing on the neediest or by working in particularly difficult environments.’

To read the full article, click here

The myth of western aid

By Kishore Mahbubani

Executive Summary: The story of Western aid to the Third World needs to be demystified. Western populations almost universally believe that the story of Western aid is of massive transfers of aid to poor Third World countries for purely altruistic reasons. They know that much of this aid has not resulted in successful development. But many believe that this is not the fault of the West. It is true that there is a huge scandal of corruption on Western aid that is waiting to be exposed. However, if and when this story is fully exposed, it is the West that will be deeply embarrassed. The full story will show that the wide-held belief of altruistic Western aid is nothing but a myth.

To read the full article, click here

Brasil versus Banco del Sur

Autor: Oscar Ugarteche

El presente artículo identifica la creciente perdida de legitimidad de las Instituciones Financieras Internacionales y la debilidad del dólar estadounidense como una oportunidad para ampliar el concepto del Banco del Sur a uno de arquitectura financiera regional incluyendo un banco de desarrollo, un fondo de estabilización y una unidad monetaria sudamericana. El Banco del Sur se ocuparía de financiar una matriz de desarrollo suramericano y de recircular los excedentes en divisas que hay en Suramérica en los bancos centrales y que ahora financian a los Estados Unidos.
Dentro de este debate, el gobierno brasileño presenta resistencias vinculadas a una virtual competencia del Banco del Sur con su Banco de Desarrollo (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social -BNDES), y a su interés en que el Banco del Sur financie la IIRSA, una red de carreteras inter-amazónicas. Sin embargo, para el autor IIRSA es una discusión al margen de la urgencia de una arquitectura financiera regional: Primero diseñemos y hagamos posible la arquitectura luego discutamos la IIRSA. Por otro lado, mientras que el BNDES se avoca a la promoción del interés nacional brasileño, el Banco del Sur se dedicaría a financiar una matriz de desarrollo suramericano.
A estas alturas, oponerse a la arquitectura financiera sudamericana es hacerle un servicio al status quo, al Tesoro estadounidense y a las instituciones financieras de Washington, debilitadas y desprestigiadas.

Para leer el documento completo, haga click aquí

China-Africa Economic Relations: The Case of Zambia

By Inyambo Mwanawina, AERC, February 2008

This study provides information on the size, structure and significance of China-Zambia relations. It examines the nature and scope of Chinese investment in Zambia, looking at the pattern and magnitude of trade between them as well as the characteristics of Chinese development assistance to Zambia.
China’s engagement with Zambia is based on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which has created new opportunities and challenges in Zambia’s development effort. The opportunity provided by China to tap on its experience in acquiring technology and financial resources needed to scale up the country development effort and move rapidly towards increased wealth creation and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The challenge lies in turning and regulating Chinese interests in the country to the mutually benefit of both China and Zambia without endangering the country’s social-cultural heritage and environment.

To read the full paper, click here

New Developments in South-South Cooperation: China ODA, Alternative Regionalisms, Banco del Sur

By Isabel Ortiz

South-South cooperation is becoming increasingly important given criticisms on the current process of globalization. Since the 19th century, non-hegemonic countries and regions forged alliances as a strategy to reduce dependency and dominance from Northern powers. At the beginning of the 21st century, Southern countries remain associating to promote South-South cooperation. This article focuses on new developments in South-South Bilateral ODA and Investments (Emergence of China), the alternative regionalism in the South (Emergence of MERCOSUR and ALBA) and South-South multilateral Banks (Arab Development Banks, CAF and the potential of Banco del Sur)

To read the full paper, click here

China in Africa: lending, policy space and governance

Author: Martine Dahle Huse and Stephen L. Muyakwa

This report aims to raise awareness on the issue of debt and new lenders in Africa, focusing particularly on China. It briefly introduce the role of China in Africa, highlighting some of the differences between China and the traditional lenders. The report looks at China’s lending modalities to African countries, its impact on governance and the issue of debt sustainability, presenting a case study on the relationship of Zambia and China.
The research found that China’s aid modalities are characterised by lack of conditionality but also lack of transparency and accountability. It also alerts about the potential nega¬tive impact on debt sustainability and the possible contribution to debt crisis in countries where governance is week.
The report stress the urgent need to establish internationally recognised legal standards for responsible lending. Additionally, it set down recommendations with a particular focus on the Zambia case.

To read the full report, click here

Delivering better aid: An opportunity for European Union leadership in the fight against global poverty


2008 is a crucial year in the fight against global poverty. Governments from across the world will meet at a ‘High Level Forum’ in Accra, Ghana in September to assess whether international aid is playing an effective role in delivering human rights for all. Soon afterwards they will assemble again at a UN summit in Doha, to examine the broader ‘Financing for Development’ agenda, of which aid is a part, but which also includes other critical issues for international development, such as international finance, trade and debt.

The European Union provides the majority of the world’s aid, giving it a crucial leadership role in the fight against global poverty. It also has a solemn responsibility to do all it can to make sure the aid it provides is as effective as possible at reducing poverty and ensuring rights for all.

European civil society organisations are therefore calling on the EU to grasp the opportunity for leadership that 2008 provides, and agree to a set of concrete EU targets to improve aid from member states and European institutions. If necessary, these should go beyond at the commitments made at international fora such as Accra. This would follow existing precedents, and allow EU aid to become a global benchmark for quality.

We make the following specific recommendations, for EU governments and institutions, which are set out in detail later in this paper:
1. The EU should respect real democratic ownership of the development process, and allow partner countries to be in the driving seat by:
 Untying all EU aid to all countries;
 Phasing out economic policy conditionality.
2. The EU should radically improve its accountability, particularly to developing countries and their citizens by:
 making monitoring and evaluation of aid truly independent;
 establishing a complaints mechanism open to aid recipients;
 supporting in-country mechanisms for holding donors to account.
3. The EU should commit to good practice standards of openness and transparency of their aid budgets and activities.
4. The EU should agree new, more ambitious targets to make multi-year, predictable and guaranteed aid commitments based on clear and transparent criteria.
5. The EU should reform its technical assistance – money spent on consultants, research and training - to respond to national priorities and build genuine capacity in partner countries.

Aid reform is, of course, only one of the steps that the European Union must take. Making its trade, security, migration, agriculture and other policies coherently work to benefit developing countries and promoting a fair international financial and trade system in favour of development remain huge challenges, which CONCORD members continue to focus on, but which are not the subject of this paper.

However, by taking the above steps, the EU would demonstrate that it is truly committed to making its aid an effective tool in the fight against global poverty and inequality.

Click on the attachment below to read the full document

Oslo Conditionality Conference

The Norwegian government, whose aid money cannot be spent on programs that require trade liberalization and privatization, hosted an inter-governmental meeting in November to assess the extent to which the World Bank and IMF still require developing countries to pursue privatization and liberalization as a condition of support. An independent study commissioned for the meeting, determined that while the World Bank and IMF are still pushing privatization and trade liberalization in their development policy lending, it is less pervasive than in the past. It also concluded that governance conditions are increasingly taking the place of economic policy prescriptions, and that developing government “ownership” over Bank and Fund policies is still weak.

Held in Oslo, the meeting brought together Finance and Development Ministries from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, UK, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as academics and civil society groups. Canada which had agreed to participate, withdrew from the conference some days before, as did the IMF.

Click here to view the full report

Log In or Join

Resource Categories

Size of tags indicates the number of resources
Absorption Accountability Africa Aid Architecture Aid Architecture Aid effectiveness Aid linkages Aid modalities Aid organisations All regions Asia Pacific Bilateral Donors Budget Support By Region Capacity Development Conditionality Corruption CSOs Debt Relief Domestic Resource Mobilisation Donor Coordination Mechanisms Economic Growth Education Effects of aid Emergencies Environment Europe Food Aid Gender Good Humanitarian Donorship Governance Harmonisation & Alignment Health Hot Topics Humanitarian Aid Quality Institutions Latest trends Latin America and Caribbean Macro impacts/Dutch Disease MDGs Middle East Multilateral and International (governmental) Organisations National Policy Frameworks/PRSs Natural Disasters NGOs Ownership Productive Sectors Public Expenditure Management/Budget Sector Programme based approaches Technical Assistance Trade Vertical Programmes/Global Initiatives Workshops

Recent Forum Posts

  • The Paris Declaration is Gender Blind
  • The urgent need for transparency and accountability
  • Your Support is needed in Egypt
  • Independent People's Tribunal on the World Bank Group
  • South and the future of the world

Suggest a Resource

If you would like to suggest a resource for the Forum on the Future of Aid, please email