Governance and Nationbuilding

Governance and Nationbuilding

The Failure of International Intervention

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Governance and Nationbuilding describes how aid donors have attempted to improve the performance of government in developing countries and countries in crisis. Kate Jenkins and William Plowden review the widespread lack of success, tracing the history of international government intervention, the roles of donors and recipient countries, the ways in which expert advice and support have been provided, and the donors’ own evaluation of their work.

Chapter 3: The Providers: The Donors

Kate Jenkins and William Plowden

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, public policy, regulation and governance


In the debates about aid and development most weight is carried by the international institutions – the World Bank, the UNDP and the European Union (EU) – even though most aid money in all areas is spent by ‘bilateral’ donors through their own separate aid agencies. Although in recent years total aid expenditure has risen, bilateral spending accounts for over 70 per cent of the total. In 2003 about $50 billion was spent bilaterally on all aid and about $19 billion through multilateral programmes. Most countries run their own programmes while contributing to multilateral programmes as well. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly involved in the delivery of aid. The figures produced by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) at OECD suggest that NGOs spend about 12 per cent of technical cooperation funds and take responsibility for a large share of emergency aid. More recent calculations indicate that if to private donations are added funds transferred to NGOs by official donors, to run both their own programmes and the donors’ programmes, NGOs are now responsible for nearly a quarter of all official development assistance.1 Aid for government itself is a small proportion of the total. The realization of the significance of government has come only slowly to the aid community. Aid for government has been growing as donors begin to recognize that the effective implementation of most of their policies and expenditure on development depends heavily on the capacity and quality of the governments with which they deal. But it was only in the...

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