, Volume 90, Number 4

Sophie Harman and David Williams

International development is in a period of transition. While the outcome of this is still unclear, this article argues that there are at least four areas in which the project of international development is changing. First, there is a debate, especially within the World Bank, about development strategy and how we think about development, particularly in terms of the balance between states and markets. This is evident in the debate over state failure and the new structural economics. Second, there is increasing evidence of a shift in lending, away from projects of ‘small’ human development, perhaps best encapsulated by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, towards more transformative ‘big’ development projects such as infrastructure. Third, ‘non-traditional’ aid donors and new forms of private philanthropy are playing a more significant role in development financing and this, in turn, offers developing countries a new range of choices about what kinds of development assistance they receive. Fourth, aid relations are changing as a result of the renewed agency of developing states, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and shifts towards increased South–South cooperation are growing as evidenced by increased funding from regional development banks and increased trade flows. The article reviews these changes and suggests a series of questions and challenges that arise from them for analysts of international development, developing countries and traditional aid donors.

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