David Philips blogs at Development Without Aid, in response to Gates Foundation’s annual letter:

But there is no evidence that this was to do with development aid and plenty that it was to do with Global economic conditions.  But note – I speak of development aid. This is not really the business of the Gates Foundation anyway. The Gates Foundation is about global health and humanitarian aid. That is a different thing. So please Melinda stick to global health aid – you may be right about it. Meanwhile the only way poor countries develop is through developing over time their own governance, institutions, capabilities, capacities and motivations. This is where the diaspora has suddenly become important but that is not the same thing as aid.

Over the weekend I found myself in a rare, but meaningful Twitter debate about development. I say rare because the only people in the conversation were Africans. My observation was that development isn’t about us watching Sachs and Easterly, et al debate about our development. Development is about us talking amongst ourselves on how we can better execute the changes we want to see in our community. That is agency in action and I think we need to have more of this, and less sitting on the sidelines waiting for the academics and philanthropists to set the agenda for us.

The core tenant to development is the we – the classified as developing countries – have to take on ownership in designing, implementing and maintaining our sustainability.


Are the recipient countries in charge of figuring out where health clinics should be built and training the workers? Are donors helping local teams build up the expertise they need to put the Western experts out of business? Are the best performers sharing the lessons they’ve learned so other countries can follow suit? This has been a big area of learning for the foundation.

Sure, complexity in development is inherent, but shoring up development agency as the cornerstone of our sustainability should be straight forward. That is our responsibility.

via Development Without Aid | David Phillips.

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