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Seven Deadly Sins: Reflections on Donor Failings

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  • Nancy Birdsall

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Abstract

In the face of continuing development challenges in the world's poorest countries, there have been new calls throughout the donor community to increase the volume of development aid. Equal attention should be given to the reform of the aid business itself, that is, the practices and processes and procedures and politics of aid. This paper sets out the shortcomings of that business on which new research has recently shed light, but which have not been adequately or explicitly incorporated into the donor community's reform agenda. It outlines seven of the worst "sins" or failings of donors, including impatience with institution building, collusion and coordination failures, failure to evaluate the results of their support, and financing that is volatile and unpredictable. It suggests possible short-term practical fixes and notes the need ultimately for more ambitious and structural changes in the overall aid architecture.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy Birdsall, 2004. "Seven Deadly Sins: Reflections on Donor Failings," Working Papers 50, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:50
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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2737
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsabé Loots, 2006. "Aid And Development In Africa: The Debate, The Challenges And The Way Forward," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(3), pages 363-381, September.
    2. Bulír, Ales & Hamann, A. Javier, 2008. "Volatility of Development Aid: From the Frying Pan into the Fire?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2048-2066, October.
    3. Arnab Acharya & Ana Teresa Fuzzo de Lima & Mick Moore, 2006. "Proliferation and fragmentation: Transactions costs and the value of aid," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 1-21.
    4. Bernard Walters, 2007. "The Fiscal Implications of Scaling up ODA to Deal with the HIV/AIDS Pandemic," Conference Paper 3, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    5. Blanca Moreno-Dodson, 2005. "Reducing Poverty on a Global Scale: Learning and Innovating for Development—Findings from the Shanghai Global Learning Initative," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7211.
    6. Faust, Jörg, 2008. "Are More Democratic Donor Countries More Development Oriented? Domestic Institutions and External Development Promotion in OECD Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 383-398, March.
    7. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:375-389 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    development aid; donor community; aid reform;

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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