chapter  7
32 Pages

Getting towards the beginning of the end for traditional development aid: major trends in development thinking and its practical application over the last fifty years Anders Narman

When Truman institutionalised development assistance, he could hardly have imagined that it would still exist in basically the same form fifty years later. At the same time, we have all become so used to its existence that the mere notion of aid being phased out seems rather unrealistic. The tragedy of aid is that it is still there after fifty years, and the need for it is probably greater than ever before, at least in certain parts of the world. If the purpose of aid has ever been to contribute resources from the North to support local mobilisation towards the establishment of self-sustained development in the South it has failed miserably. As will be elaborated on below, many countries in the South, particularly in Africa, are now more dependent on aid than at any time previously. On the other hand, the beauty of it all is that there is still a lot of well-intended humanitarianism in the North trying to channel its solidarity to the less fortunate in the South. However, in the institutionalised aid structures this has been seriously watered down with numerous other and less noble objectives:

the international aid process became a seething pot-pourri of humanitarianism, commercial self-interest, strategic calculation and bad conscience - a perfect recipe for all the contradictions, confusion and pathological disorder with which aid-giving is afflicted to this day.