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The Rising Powers as Development Actors Emma Mawdsley Geography Department University of Cambridge, UK

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Presentation on theme: "The Rising Powers as Development Actors Emma Mawdsley Geography Department University of Cambridge, UK"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Rising Powers as Development Actors Emma Mawdsley Geography Department University of Cambridge, UK

2 Session objectives To examine: The (re)emergence of a large number of non- traditional partners and donor countries in international development, such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic; The impact of these countries in the international development landscape; The opportunities and challenges this phenomena presents for foreign aid and development policies.

3 Context: global flux Paradigm shift in development norms? –From ‘aid effectiveness’ to ‘development effectiveness’? –A return to investment in infrastructure and growth as the driver (definition?) of development? Institutional ruptures –The (relative) decline of the dominant ‘international’ development organisations: the OECD-DAC, the BWIs –The emergence of new structures and processes of global development governance: Structural shifts in the global economy

4 DAC: The Development Assistance Committee of the OECD


6 Challenges and opportunities 1) What impacts will the NDDs have on humanitarian intervention, longer-term development, poverty reduction and economic growth in poorer countries? 2)What impacts will the NDDs have on the existing architecture of foreign aid – the ideologies, policies and practices of the dominant institutions? 3)What part will NDD development assistance play in the changing global geographies of economic and geopolitical power that are taking place and predicted to accelerate? 4)What challenges do the (re-)emergence of the NDDs have for theorizing international relations, development and foreign aid?

7 Current analyses a) “In Africa and elsewhere, governments needing development assistance are skeptical of promises of more aid, wary of conditionalities associated with aid, and fatigued by the heavy bureaucratic and burdensome delivery systems used for delivery of aid. Small wonder that the emerging donors are being welcomed with open arms” (Woods 2008: 1220) b) Naim (2007): ‘rogue donors’ making nefarious use of ‘toxic aid’ c) Manning (2008) Chair of OECD-DAC: cautious, challenges and opportunities, rapidly changing official discourse

8 Changing ‘mainstream’ responses Longstanding neglect, disparagement, lukewarm support for SSDC; Soviet aid studied within Soviet Studies, rarely Development Studies etc –So-called ‘non-traditional’ donors and development partners largely overlooked by mainstream and critical commentators for decades 2005 a turning point: rapidly (although still partially) changing language within ‘mainstream’: outreach, to incorporation, to partnership (e.g. DFID 2011).

9 Why neglected for so long? Transgression of Orientalist categories: Caring at a distance presumes: “the construction of Northern actors as carers who are active and generous and of Southern actors as cared for, passive and grateful” (Silk 2004:230). The essentialised dichotomies of North-South, developed-under-developed, First-Third World, modern- traditional: “provide the rationale and justification for the practice of some people intervening to develop others and thus also shape those who give assistance and those who must be grateful for it” (Kothari, 2007: 37) 9

10 “After Hurricane Katrina …Sri Lanka offered aid to the US. Even though it was only a small amount of money, this symbolic act was important for Sri Lanka to regain dignity and to escape from the status of a ‘pure’ recipient country, as a victim country. Now Sri Lanka had become a donor country. It also showed how Sri Lanka could feel compassionate to Westerners, being generous, within their capabilities, to the distant needy, but also able to rebalance the asymmetric relations that had developed after the tsunami, where Westerners were always donors and generous, and Asians were always recipients and forced to be grateful” (Korf 2007: 370-1) 10

11 Multiple lineages Non-Aligned Movement Socialism (USSR, Maoist, Cuban, others) UNCTAD, G77, UN-sponsored South-South Development Cooperation Gulf States and OPEC members 2004 and 2007 accession to the European Union

12 Vietnam as a socialist development partner Both in official accounts and my informants’ personal narratives the [overseas/aid expert] work is spoken of as an act of disinterested benevolence, a gift of tutelage and enlightenment given freely … So there was nothing demeaning for either the givers or receivers of this aid. Vietnam too was a poor country, but this was because of the costly wars it had fought in defence of its homeland, and as a defender of revolutionary modernity on behalf of all the world’s progressive peoples and nations … The former [experts] speak of themselves as humanitarian providers and bringers of advancement to ‘backward’ African nations, expressing pride in having done work that reflects credit on themselves, their families and their homeland. They speak of themselves as enlighteners and providers … unlike Western experts and aid workers whose countries are routinely represented as professing humanitarian aims but undertaking such giving merely to acquire strategic clients, captive markets and cheap labour. (Bayly 2007: 183) 12

13 Defining the RPs as ‘development actors’ Some observe DAC definitions of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), but may depart from ‘mainstream’ norms and (desired) practices. Others practice ‘aid’ and ‘aid-like’ activities (grants, concessional loans, technical assistance, debt relief, humanitarian assistance etc), but may or may not refer to it as foreign aid Many also engage in ‘development cooperation’: blurred and blended financial instruments and diplomatic solidarities. –This seems to be the direction of travel for DAC too

14 Similarities and differences Often a stronger regional focus Often a stronger investment in productivity and growth sectors over ‘soft-wiring’ and social programmes Tend to direct a lower share multilaterally BUT this is selective Generally a lower engagement with domestic and partner civil society organisations Frequently aid/aid-like activities are tied to the purchase of donor goods and services Generally not linked to policy conditionalities Generally lower levels of domestic, recipient and international transparency Generally lower levels of formal social and environmental standards compliance BUT these are VERY crude generalisations, each of which could be contested, and each of which crosses the DAC/non-DAC ‘divide’ to some extent

15 What donors/partners seek to signal DAC donors Charity Moral obligation to the unfortunate Expertise based on superior knowledge, institutions, science and technology Sympathy for different and distant Others The virtue of suspended obligation, a lack of reciprocation South-South partners Opportunity Solidarity with other Third World countries Expertise based on direct experience of pursuing development in poor country circumstances Empathy based on a shared identity and experience The virtue of mutual benefit and recognition of reciprocity

16 … I have been struck by the adoption of an idiom of socialist neo-tradition in official representations of Vietnam’s present- day pursuit of overseas trade and investment opportunities. What has been said since the early 2000s in official media accounts of these initiatives is that Vietnam’s quest for export markets in a host of ‘liberalising’ African economies is not a pursuit of narrow economic gain or ‘interest’ (loi ich). On the contrary, say the ministries’ media spokesmen, these efforts are wholly consistent with the country’s heritage as a socialist provider and maker of ‘traditional friendships’ (quan he huu nghi truyen thong) through the imparting of aid and tutelage to the continent’s ‘needy’ postcolonies (Bayly 2007:226-7). 16



19 What they seek to ‘euphemise’ DAC donors Commercial and geopolitical self-interest Hegemony National superiority Inadequate responses to gross inequality South-South partners Commercial and geopolitical self-interest The challenge to hegemony National superiority Growing differences in interests within the Third World Interference in the sovereign affairs of other states

20 “Official Indian sources confirm that … South-South Cooperation principles continue to guide Indian aid. However this cannot be accepted unreservedly as a comprehensive description of India’s aid characteristics. Firstly, a quite different aid policy, rather like an Indian version of the Monroe Doctrine, is pursued by India where neighbouring countries of strategic importance — for example, Bhutan and Nepal—are concerned. Here, India both overtly and covertly flexes its economic and military muscle to intervene in domestic affairs, and massive aid has been given over long periods in blatant pursuit of India’s national interests” (Kondoh et al 2010: 36) 20

21 Development impacts? Often: Higher levels of investment in infrastructure and productive capacity Quicker processes, less onerous social and environmental regulations Technical assistance that is cheaper and which can be well-adapted to local circumstances Innovative financing models, more finances available

22 Justice between and within nations Strong (but not exclusive) focus of many of the (so-called) ‘non-traditional’ development partners on economic wealth creation and the productive sectors (agriculture, transport and energy infrastructure etc) Modernisation, technological optimism, little regard for costs and losers Generally weak regard for environmental and social sustainability, or for marginalised peoples. 22

23 Global development governance The end of DAC hegemony The transition from the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness to the (as yet unknown) Global Development Partnership Reform of IMF, WB and other multilateral institutions The emergence of new forums e.g. UN’s Development Cooperation Forum; post-Busan Global Development Partnerships Growing importance and shifting role of national policy banks and regional organisations: key level of development financing dynamism

24 Global development governance Questions over legitimacy and credibility of western-dominated aid architecture Definitions, norms, practices being challenged Some evidence of a trend towards greater transparency Coordination, cooperation or cooption? New partnerships and networks emerging e.g. Trilateral Development Cooperation

25 Key messages A more plural development landscape is emerging which challenges identity and norm construction, aid and development paradigms, as well as economic, political and institutional-regime change The different histories and lineages of today’s (re-) emerging donors and development partners is important to understanding agendas and identities. Recognising the differences between aid, aid-like activities and ‘development cooperation’ is vital. Different development partners mobilise different ideas of virtue and justice.

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