Econ07


Towards new hegemonies? The role of new actors in African development cooperation 
Convenors:
Mario Zamponi (University of Bologna)
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Discussants:
Davide Chinigò (Stellenbosch University)
Stream:
Economy and Development
Location:
50 George Square, G.05
Sessions:
Friday 14 June, 8:45-10:15, 10:45-12:15 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

African history and politics are profoundly interconnected with international development cooperation. Recent years have seen the emergence of new actors, raising questions about future trajectories of change. The panel explores the most recent transformations in development cooperation to Africa.

Long Abstract

African history and politics are strongly interconnected with international cooperation and development aid. After the Second World War initiatives took place in the context of the Cold War, reflecting political priorities of the two Blocs. In recent years transformations have taken place within a new global framework. We have seen the continuation of historical connections, particularly with Western donors. At the same time the emergence of non-state actors - such as religious and philantropic organizations, social enterprises, and private corporations - and of new global powers - the BRICS, other emerging economies, and countries with specific economic interests in Africa - have established new paradigms. While in rapid evolution, this new context needs careful reappraisal. Principles, practices, and priorities governing development organizations are highly contested in the way they intersect with African countries' agendas and hence require new assessment.

Within this framework, this panel aims to explore transformations in policies and practices of international development cooperation towards Africa, where new emerging economic powers and new development organizations are challenging the traditional North-South aid paradigm. Both traditional donors and new development actors carry with them specific cultures, histories and agendas, which influence the ways they operate, and the ways in which initiatives confront African aspirations and demands. This delineates a wide range of possible changes, connections, and disruptions: from a win-win scenario to a new model of international hegemony. The panel seeks conceptually inspired contributions and new empirical work exploring the most recent transformations in international development cooperation towards Africa.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Tricia Williams (Mastercard Foundation)

Paper short abstract:

Traditional development cooperation is ripe for disruption. While actors such as the Mastercard Foundation offer new relational models, disruption fundamentally requires transformed power structures and more direction and control from African governments and institutions.

Paper long abstract:

Development cooperation is ripe for disruption. The SDGs call for greater leadership and ownership of developing countries of their own development agendas. But what does this actually mean for development cooperation? Traditional donors are notoriously averse to change, and bureaucratic wrangling leaves many with outdated approaches and policies ill-suited for a new development era. African countries - and others in the global South - rightfully want more control in setting their priorities and engaging with development actors. Despite all the rhetoric and good intentions, traditional power and accountability structures remain largely undisturbed.

This paper argues that new philanthropy organizations have an opportunity to disrupt the traditional development cooperation patterns. The experience of the Mastercard Foundation is highlighted. With independence and significant development resources, this foundation is able to establish dialogue mechanisms with African governments and other development actors. Co-creation is core to the foundation's objectives, and it has established specific mechanisms to include African perspectives and voices in its decision-making processes. These practices have the opportunity to disrupt traditional development relations and offer news pathways to development cooperation.

The paper concludes with a critical lens towards both the promise and peril of development disruption, lest we replace the old development actors simply with new ones. Instead, disruption fundamentally requires transformed power structures and more direction and control from African governments and institutions.

Authors:

Mante Makauskaite (AfriKo)
Jevgenija Kovaliova (AfriKo)
Lukas Ivanauskas (AfriKo - Africa Research and Consultancy Centre)

Paper short abstract:

Though members of the EU, Baltic states can hardly fall within the North-South aid paradigm, but also does not qualify as South-South cooperation. Through the case of Lithuania, this paper will seek to reflect the position and trends in development cooperation between Baltics and African countries.

Paper long abstract:

In September 2018 Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnership. And we, Europeans need this partnership just as much. <..>. I believe we should develop the numerous EU-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals." This quote illustrates both the requests for the fair partnerships that have become louder and louder, and changing international environment in which these requests are presented - European countries now have to compete with such actors as China, Turkey, India, Russia, to name a few, in building their relationships with African countries. The EU, however, is also not a homogeneous group when it comes to engagements with the continent - on the one hand there are former colonial powers or those perceived as traditional donor countries, on the other - Central and East European countries, especially the Baltic states, that have limited historical experience with Africa. The membership in the EU has brought African countries to their attention as well and situated them in a rather unique position - though part of the EU (with implications this membership brings), the Baltic states can be perceived as new actors engaging with Africa, and neither fall within the North-South aid paradigm, nor does qualify as South-South cooperation. Based on the experience of AfriKo - Africa research and consultancy centre established in Lithuania - this paper will seek to reflect the position and trends of Lithuania's development cooperation with African countries.

Author:

Elsje Fourie (University of Maastricht)

Paper short abstract:

This paper asks whether a middle ground between human development and newer, growth-oriented development approaches can be achieved; it does this by qualitatively analysing the recent widespread transfer of Japanese industrial productivity techniques to factories across Ethiopia.

Paper long abstract:

Foreign development assistance today stands at a critical juncture. Many of social and 'bottom-up' concerns that have for two decades underpinned the human development paradigm remain central, while the more recent rise of China and other new development 'partners' has reintroduced macro-economic and 'top-down' priorities such as industrial policy and economic growth to the agenda.

This paper asks whether a middle ground between these two extremes can be achieved through a qualitative analysis of a critical case: the widespread transfer of Japanese industrial productivity techniques to factories and other workplaces across Ethiopia. These techniques (known as kaizen) share with the human development approach an emphasis on grassroots participation and the practical knowledge of ordinary people, but direct these towards more modernist ends such as the application of scientific rationality to the workplace. In this way, I argue, their transfer embodies 'low modernism', a concept that has recently been introduced by historians to contrast with Scott's (1998) seminal 'high modernism'. This allows for a new understanding of how human agents make sense of the contradictions and creative potentials that arise from the merging of two hitherto distinctive ways of approaching development.

The examination of African kaizen through a low modernist lens adds nuance both to those theories that view human and economic development as fundamentally irreconcilable, and those that view this policy convergence as wholly unproblematic. Finally it sheds light on the potential of external interventions to support industrialization without sacrificing social development or political empowerment.

Author:

Joonhwa Cho (SOAS, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This article examines South Korea's recent interest in Africa in rapidly increasing their ODA budget. South Korea is promoting their aid modalities by claiming themselves to be proof of development. However, reality on the ground mirrors traditional donor trajectories.

Paper long abstract:

This article examines South Korea's enthusiasm in applying SaemaulUndong within their aid modalities, how delivery has taken place and its key goals. Since President Roh's tour of Africa in March 2006 (the first for 24 years), all following presidents have followed suit, pledging an increased ODA budget to an African region which has become Korea's second largest recipient continent (at around 20%). Meanwhile, Korea's developing aid modalities deliver the diplomatic rhetoric that Korea contributes by sharing their successful developmental experience, particularly in rural development through SaemaulUndong. Hence SeamulUndong would achieve poverty reduction in rural areas by changing local mind-sets through raising awareness of the spirit of "Diligence, Self-help and Cooperation".

However, in this paper I argue that many associated persons in the field did not understand what SaemaulUndong constitutes, apart from core campaign slogans, and recipient counterparts used SaemaulUndong to manipulate Korean governmental agencies (which loved hearing of its use). In reality, project selection considered political and practical factors which would potentially guarantee best performance. Therefore, SaemaulUndong seems to have failed if its aim was to raise Saemaul leaders. On operational terms, its approach of awareness-raising was a component used by programmes in local communities to generate profits, in effect, via capitalism. Such interventions naturally stirred up quarrels among local participants and in the end no parties wholly took responsibility, shifting blame onto each other. In turn, South Korea is replicating what most western donors have done in practice.

Author:

Alvaro Moreira (Institute of Development Studies)

Paper short abstract:

The Beninese cotton sector hosted tens of projects since the 1960s, but Southern providers are newcomers in this field. This paper explores to what extent South-South Cooperation, from its place in history, is being transformed and is transforming development practice from the partner's perspective.

Paper long abstract:

Southern providers of development cooperation considerably increased their presence in the field since the 2000s, bringing new practices and social interaction patterns to partner countries. However, these projects are implemented in contexts that have developed an organisational culture for dealing with foreign interventions. This paper provides an analysis using partner countries' perspectives and locating Southern projects in the history of development practice: how does their place in history shape projects' processes?

Development cooperation programmes are the product and producers of a history of foreign interventions. Hence, a deeper understanding of development cooperation processes implies a shift of perspective: from donors and providers' to the partner countries' history, experiences and temporalities, thus going beyond the limited timeframes of development cooperation projects.

This paper takes the Beninese cotton sector as a case study, where cotton is the main export good and engages the whole society: from small farmers to powerful input importers, ginners, and politicians. More than 30 projects have been implemented in this sector since the 1960s. However, Southern projects in the cotton development history appear only from the 2000s. At that moment, Beninese actors had already developed an organisational culture and strategies for engaging in development cooperation initiatives, that affect the ability of Southern providers to re-invent and reshape long grown patterns. For instance, partner's expectations, construed by previous North-South experiences, confront and undermine Southern principles and approaches. But this confrontation of cooperation models might as well result, through unexpected ways, in further ownership and sustainability of project outcomes.