Demand Driven Development
Development finance has traditionally depended heavily on foreign aid from bilateral donors and multilateral institutions. In some developing countries, foreign aid still plays a significant role in financing government budgets. Sustainable change rarely happens as a direct result of foreign assistance; rather, as the result of the choices countries make. In many cases, presumptions about how change happens in the developing world have not been adjusted to the realities on the ground.
Delivering foreign aid tends to be top down, driven by donors’ own development priorities. Recently, there has been a push for more country ownership, whereby countries identify their own development priorities and implement their own plans. Local communities and civil societies are included in this dialogue and are empowered to control their own resources. This shift towards demand driven development and increased country ownership requires rethinking the way aid is delivered, and the relationship between donor and recipient countries.
Can foreign aid provide expertise and resources that developing countries want and need? Is foreign assistance trapped by the performance of donors’ domestic political constituencies? Is there a mismatch between the wants of developing countries and the resources donor agencies choose to invest in?