Disrupting Development: New Power Structures for Cooperation
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 Traditional donors are notoriously averse to change, and bureaucratic wrangling leaves many with outdated approaches and policies ill-suited for a new development era.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.
Towards new hegemonies? The role of new actors in African development cooperation