Power Dynamics in Foreign Aid
This report summarizes efforts by an international team of academics and practitioners to reflect on changing power dynamics in foreign aid through a series of one-on-one consultations, workshops, and high-level events over a two-year period and in collaboration with high-level stakeholders from throughout the aid community. These consultations sought to put African perspectives front and center. We highlight five key points that emerged from our conversations:
1. Understanding power in foreign aid requires accounting for the diverse interests and agendas of multiple stakeholders;
2. True localization is challenged by sub-contracting, capacity building, and elite NGOs;
3. Altering existing power dynamics in aid is difficult because of aid dependency;
4. Rising populism in recipient countries is increasingly fueling anti-aid sentiments;
5. In the face of backsliding democracy, civil society requires predictable and accessible aid.
These five points set an agenda for deeper reflection by both those immersed in the day-to-day practice of aid giving, and scholars studying power and the changing nature of foreign aid.