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Finding a place of one’s own: development agency choices in a new landscape


I was honoured to be asked to give the David Hopper Memorial lecture at the University of Guelph on 23 February – and to deliver the same lecture at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto on 25 February. This was an exciting time to be in Canada, at a time when development policy is being rethought; and I chose to speak about the comparative and competitive advantage of development agencies in a new landscape.

The summary of the lecture is pasted in below. You can hear the audio of the Guelph lecture, including Q and A, here, and also find the text, and see the Munk lecture, including Q and A, and also find the text, here. A version of the paper ahs also been published by ODI, in connection with work on Future Development Agencies. See here.

Finding a place of one’s own: development agency choices in a new landscape

Development agencies face hard choices about their future priorities. The landscape is changing. Fewer countries qualify as low income, and more of those that do can be classified as fragile states, requiring different kinds of support. Global issues like climate change or trade play an ever more prominent role in development policy-making. ‘Beyond Aid’ or ‘Policy Coherence for Development’ have become catch-words. Further, there are more development actors, both public and private. How, then, should development agencies position themselves? What mandates, powers and competencies will be required? And how can individual agencies identify their comparative or competitive advantage?

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