Sunday, April 29, 2007

Home-grown development and technical assistance

"European reconstruction worked, after the second world war, because finance was the only missing element. The homelands of the industrial revolution had a century's legacy of infrastructure of every category: finance was needed to repair, replace and renew. The Marshall Plan was successful because the recipient countries had the industrial and technical expertise, the administrative and managerial competence and the political integrity to see the thing through.
What dismays me is that after half a century of development aid, those who advocate more of the same, dressed up in a new rhetoric, have not learnt the simple lesson that the first requirement is to build up the recipients' capacity to use aid effectively. After 25 years' experience in this field, I would urge a more humble approach.
Development should be home-grown, not planned and directed from outside. Donors can help by the provision of suitably qualified technical assistants, placed in key ministries, to generate competence in planning at both the macro and the sector level."

An argument in favor of technical assistace. You dont see many of those anymore. But please beieve me the first requirement is a recipient who ACTUALLY wants development. Not the case in Lebanon. Just ask any technical assistant who has been seconded to, say, the ministry of agriculture.

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