Aid flows to developing countries stood at $128.5 billion in 2010, with new aid donors continuing to emerge, particularly across the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and with the growth of private philanthropists. Many supporters of aid argue it must be scaled up, particularly across Africa, if the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be achieved.
However the role of aid (or development cooperation) in international development is hotly contested. Current concerns include whether recipient governments have the capacity to absorb aid, and its potential to have negative effects on achieving long term fiscal, institutional and political reforms. There are also ongoing debates about whether traditional donors can deliver on their commitments to increase aid, with concerns about public support for aid in donor countries.
In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, questions have been raised about whether international aid bureaucracies are able to adapt and remain fit for purpose.
IDS research on aid is aiming to understand and inform these debates. For example:
- IDS Participation, Power and Social Change Team is exploring the issues of power, relationships and evaluation through The Big Push Forward
- Colleagues across IDS are looking at the changing role of the rising powers, including the BRICS countries, in international development
- IDS Globalisation team is examining the growing role of private foundations and philanthropists
- Our UK Public Opinion Monitor aims to understand what drives the public's attitudes towards aid and development
- IDS Governance team is seeking to understand the role of aid in supporting progressive change in fragile states.
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