Politically oriented practice in development co-operation: “Pluri”-actor learning

By Séverine Bellina, Ousmane Sy

Book : A Governance Practitioner’s Notebook: alternative ideas and approaches

KeyWords :

Table of content

The imperative for a political approach to development aid

The issues involved in development have become more complex over the years. The North-South dichotomy has lost some of its relevance and environmental issues are forcing development models to include the concept of sustainability. The economic and financial crisis is drastically reducing the capacity of government actors, and the state is no longer the only actor in

public action. This fact is well documented and proposals are made. For over a decade, especially in view of the mixed results obtained by neo-liberal aid policies (structural adjustment programmes, “good governance” policies), many donors and experts have advocated going beyond a prescriptive and purely economic approach to governance. Instead, a “development partnership” should be established, focusing on the political sphere, dialogue, pragmatism, respect for context, an integrated approach, greater responsibility forlocal capacities and local political dynamics. Similarly, the need to integrate the political dimension of governance has been emphasised.

These approaches contend that the rationale of development aid needs to change from one of supply to one of demand. However, none of this has been translated into an actual change in development aid policies paradigm. One justification for this is the nebulous and non-operational nature of this perspective.