A Demand-Driven Approach to Development
A CSIS Primer
May 15, 2019
In many countries, financing development challenges such as humanitarian disasters, communicable diseases, and basic social services have, until recently, relied heavily on foreign aid or official development assistance (ODA). The landscape has been slowly shifting towards a development approach that is more “demand-driven”: steered and owned by developing countries in partnership with donors.
In many developing countries, especially low-income countries, foreign aid still plays a significant role in financing government priorities and will continue to play a crucial role in the years to come. Yet foreign assistance is not adapting to the changing landscape of developing countries, and there is some concern whether donors like the United States can deliver the level of flexibility and variety that countries are demanding. In order to ensure that low-income countries—particularly fragile and conflict-affected states—make progress, the United States and other donors will need to embrace new approaches and instruments to tackle persisting challenges.
The report discusses the concept and importance of a demand-driven approach to development. It describes its progress and identifies the main challenges of operationalizing the concept. The paper covers the demand-driven approach from the perspective of the United States, presenting a set of recommendations to create a more effective framework for development partners. The aim of the paper is to spur dialogue across development actors (civil society, NGOs, the private sector, and developed and developing country governments) about the programmatic and policy changes that need to take place to fully adopt the principles of demand-driven development and ultimately drive greater success in development activities.
This report was made possible by the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C.