- Knowledge base
- Policy question
Conventional development practice which represents a form of charity is hazardous and no longer suited to the demands of inclusive development. Only through a paradigm shift from “international development as charity” to supporting growth through trade not aid to generate employment, productive safety nets and increase agricultural productivity and market access that the poor can be INCLUDED. As the Netherlands development experience in Ethiopia demonstrates, mobilizing and supporting the Dutch private sector to work together with the private and public sectors in the developing countries will lift more people out of poverty than the outdated “International Development as Charity” paradigm.
The title of this opinion expresses a criticisable contention not at least because development aid alludes to conventional development being dominantly informed by a set of activities of a charitable nature. Although it has done some good, it has produced problems that in the long-term made it a hazardous pursuit. “International Development as charity” is suitable for abating crises and emergencies that require urgency and immediacy by saving life, resuscitating the dying and assisting in reclaiming shattered livelihoods.
However, extending “development as charity” to social development sectors (which are the responsibility of the state) is not sustainable because it creates dependency and undermines the state’s legitimacy. This contention should not be misconstrued for advocating a “hands off” policy, but rather to use donor support strategically or as a catalyst to leveraging inclusive growth. There are three implications emanating from this:
In my opinion the Netherlands development programmes in Ethiopia fall well within point three with interventions and policy mix in the following sectors:
These policies and interventions can be supplemented with Dutch private sector partnership with developing countries private or public sector in critical mega development intervention sectors, particularly energy and infrastructure. More than International development as charity, as incentives for creating productive employment, improving market access and integrating farmers and livestock keepers to the market – with immediate impact on (1) and (2) above.
From charity to empowerment
In sum, lessons of experience learned from the Netherlands international development policies interventions and interventions in Ethiopia shows that there is a great potential in shifting international development away from “international development as charity” to a new empowering paradigm. It should privilege the nexus between aid and trade, productive employment and sustainable and inclusive growth.
The private sector in the developing countries is interested in profit making and less in pro-poor interventions. The best way it can contribute to development is to make it adhere to corporate social responsibility by paying taxes as the greatest contribution to domestic resource mobilization.
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