Technical assistance

When less is more: external assistance and the political settlement in Somaliland

Sarah G Phillips

This article uses a political settlement framework to explore the configuration of power that underpinned the establishment and maintenance of peace in Somaliland. It explores the ways in which the country's isolation fostered mutual dependence between powerful political and economic actors for their survival and prosperity, and challenges underlying assumptions of western ...» more

Tax administrations and capacity building: A collective challenge


Tax cooperation has now reached unprecedented levels. Much work has been and is being done to assist developing countries in building their tax capacity. In February 2016 the the IMF, OECD, UN and World Bank proposed to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors that they develop a joint tax platform and recommend mechanisms to ensure effective implementation of ...» more

Big results now? Emerging lessons from Results-Based Aid in Tanzania

Heiner Janus and Niels Keijzer

Experiments with Results-Based Aid (RBA) is an ongoing trend in development cooperation.  This paper analyses design features and initial implementation experiences of three ongoing RBA programmes in Tanzania that support government reforms in the water, education and decentralisation sectors. It finds that the overarching programme and the nature of capacity development ...» more

Did Aid Promote Democracy in Africa? The Role of Technical Assistance in Africa’s Transitions

Clark Gibson, Barak Hoffman, Ryan Jablonski

This paper argues that while aid has increased resources available for patronage in earlier periods, it also increased the extent to which donors paid attention to government spending and corruption, making it more costly for governments to use foreign aid for patronage. Specifically, it argues that when donors invest in policies that increase monitoring, measured using ...» more

Community-based disaster risk management in Pakistan

Disaster risk management (DRM), including disaster risk reduction (DRR), has received increased attention - particularly community-based DRM (CBDRM). Despite limited implementation and very limited evidence, some findings emerge: Factors of success have included: - Work that is multi-sectoral, integrated and multi-hazard. - Good programming, with high-quality analysis, ...» more

Regional development programmes and poverty reduction

This report looks into the actual performance, and possibly impact, of regional development programmes on national-level poverty reduction and associated factors such as ‘good governance’. The evidence base presents some strengths, such as the availability of diverse and rigorous evaluations, but also significant difficulties, most notably the lack of clear data on impact, ...» more

Democracy, governance and randomised media assistance

Devra C Moehler

In recent years, the use of field experiments to study the impact of development assistance on democracy and governance outcomes (DG outcomes) has grown tremendously. However, most of the DG field experiments conducted to date focus on only a few sectors, namely elections, community and local governance, and service delivery (Moehler, 2010). Experimentalists have largely ...» more

International aid to Lebanon

Key findings: Solid data from the OECD and OCHA makes mapping the official aid to Lebanon possible. However, official data is only part of the story: major aid flows have remained unrecorded, for example from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Information on macro-level aid also seems largely gender-blind. Lebanon has received large volumes of international donor aid since the 1970s. ...» more

Current thinking on capacity development

Capacity development (CD) emerged in the 1990s from a reassessment of earlier approaches to technical cooperation. (Pearson 2011b, p. 10) It is now “gaining greater prominence in international discussions on the performance and future of development cooperation” (Keijzer et al. 2011, p. 7) and continues to be identified as key constraint in development analysis and political ...» more

Managing Famine Risk: Linking Early Warning to Early Action

Rob Bailey

This document is the final report of a Chatham House research project on the barriers that hinder appropriate response to early warning of slow-onset food crises. It finds that famine risk is well understood but badly managed. Famine early warning does not lead to early action, often because of governments' perceptions of political risk: changing the status quo requires that ...» more

Effectiveness of demand-led technical assistance and cooperation on public sector reforms

Key findings: No cases demonstrate unambiguously that improved economic governance and inclusive growth has been the result of demand-led technical assistance. However, existing literature that evaluates technical assistance and public sector reforms in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region shows that public sector reform (PSR) can remove constraints on inclusive ...» more

Legal and technical support programmes for negotiations on extractives or land deals

Key findings: Sub-Saharan Africa’s abundant natural resources could significantly boost the region’s economic growth and development, and large-scale projects carried out by potential investors, if strategically managed, are a potential source of income. Yet, many country governments lack robust regulatory frameworks, specialised knowledge and technical expertise, and ...» more

Indonesian and Philippine engagement in South-South and Triangular Cooperation

Both Indonesia and the Philippines provide considerable assistance to other developing countries, typically capacity building and sharing expertise about a range of development themes from agriculture and rural development to ICT, microfinance, education, health and welfare, amongst others. While most cooperation occurs at a regional Asia-Pacific level, Indonesia and the ...» more

Research Capacity Strengthening

Lack of an enabling legal framework, poor quality of secondary-school education, an absence of research leaders and role models, and the relatively low priority attached to research are all frequently cited as barriers to research capacity development in developing countries as a whole, and Africa in particular (Whitworth et al 2008). Studies have noted that previous research ...» more

Using Technology to Deliver Social Protection: Exploring Opportunities and Risks

Stephen Devereux, Katharine Vincent

What are the opportunities and risks of using information and communications technology (ICT) to deliver social protection? This article considers experiences from southern Africa, focusing on pilot projects in Malawi. It finds that using ICT to deliver social protection increases project efficiency and cost-effectiveness (particularly at large scale), increases flexibility and ...» more

Technical Assistance for Post-disaster Recovery

There is a paucity of literature making explicit recommendations for technical assistance to support long-term recovery in post-disaster conflicts. Nevertheless, much of the criticism leveled against TA is the same as that leveled against early recovery interventions, including:the fact that TA remains largely supply-drivena low level of ownership and involvement on the part of ...» more

Fixing the Political Market Place: How Can We Make Peace Without Functioning State Institutions?

Alex de Waal

How can international actors respond to the powerful trend towards intractable low-level conflicts that are part-criminal and part-political? This paper argues that it is important to understand the actual functioning of politics in complex countries (like Afghanistan, Congo and Sudan) that do not have a strong and autonomous state. Such countries must be studied as they really ...» more

A Candidate for Relegation? Corruption, Governance Approaches and the (Re)construction of Post-war States

Alan Doig, Martin Tisne

As aid donors consider revising their broad governance reform focus and move toward 'good enough governance', what attention might be paid to corruption in the revised approach? Using a series of country studies, this paper discusses the place of anti-corruption in recent post-war donor agendas, finding that it has often been diluted or downplayed. Addressing corruption should ...» more

Southern perspectives on technical cooperation

Technical assistance and technical cooperation (hereafter referred to as TC) are forms of foreign aid, where expertise is provided to developing countries in the form of personnel, training, research, and associated costs. Typically, it is associated with the placing of consultants in positions where they can advise and support counterparts in developing countries. The ...» more