Essays in Honor of Lance Taylor
Edited by Amitava Krishna Dutt
Chapter 17: Towards balance in aid relationships: donor performance monitoring in low-income developing countries
Gerry Helleiner* I INTRODUCTION There is a new paradigm, emphasizing the need for ‘partnership’ and ‘local ownership’, in the current mainstream literature on oﬃcial development assistance to poor countries. It is manifest in much of the writing and rhetoric emanating from the international ﬁnancial institutions (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) and bilateral aid agencies, most notably in connection with the so-called Comprehensive Development Framework (pushed by the World Bank) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (required for the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries to qualify for further debt relief and oﬃcial assistance). Is it all just rhetoric? Or can and should aid relationships actually be changed? This chapter argues, in the constructive spirit characteristic of Lance Taylor’s many assaults on comfortable orthodoxy, that while current realities still belie the new aid rhetoric, one can easily think of reforms that could begin signiﬁcantly to narrow the rhetoric–reality gap. In particular, independent monitoring of aid donor performance, in respect of key elements of their stated objectives and promises, at the level of individual aid recipient countries, could begin to balance the inevitable asymmetries in the aid relationship and provide real meaning to the concept of ‘partnership’. The chapter is organized as follows. Section II introduces the new rhetoric of aid partnership and some of its problems. Section III brieﬂy recounts developments in the monitoring of low-income country performance. In section IV, attention shifts to the current (inadequate) systems of aid performance monitoring. Sections V and VI,...
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