The right sized Power of We to influence development

 In Uncategorized

Over the past couple of weeks, two big changes have happened in my life. First, one of my sisters has moved to Glasgow from London with her little baby girl. So I’ve become a very busy auntie! Second, I’ve got a new job in DFID. I’ll be supporting our Secretary of State to co-chair a new institution that over 160 countries and over 45 other stakeholders decided to set up, just under a year ago.  It’s called the “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation”.

You’d think these two life changes aren’t related, but the other evening, after a hard day in my new job, I read the fairy-tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to my little niece.  It got me thinking about why these 200-plus countries and stakeholders decided to set up the Global Partnership in the first place.

For the uninitiated, “Goldilocks” is a story of a girl who goes wandering into the woods, and comes across an empty house, belonging to three bears. She then finds three bowls of porridge, three chairs and three beds, and tries them all out. Successively, she finds her first try of the porridge, chair and bed too hot, too big or too hard, and her second try too cold, too small and too soft. But the third porridge, chair and bed are all “just right”.

Was Goldilock’s chair too big, too small or “just right”? Photo taken October 2012

Just like Goldilocks, a year ago, countries were on the search for the “just right” number of people to make a difference to development.  They were looking for the right sized “we” (NB: the “Power of We” is the theme of today’s Blog Action Day).

A lot of people thought the first try had been “too big”. Since the 1960s, representatives of just under 30 aid agencies such as DFID had been getting together to discuss how to increase and improve the aid they give to developing countries, so as to reduce poverty as much as possible.  Most of the time, these representatives had come together in a forum called the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) housed in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The DAC has been an influential part of the OECD. In 2003, it organised a huge meeting of Ministers from all over the world and other stakeholders such as Multilateral Development Banks and Civil Society Organisations in Rome, then another in 2005 in Paris and finally another in Accra in 2008, all with the aim of making aid more “effective” in delivering development and poverty reduction.

These meetings achieved important progress. For example, Ministers agreed that aid agencies should coordinate their aid better and provide more transparent data about where and what it is spent on.  But when the donor agencies got together to follow this up, meetings became very technical and technocratic. Attendees had long, in-depth discussions about aid statistics and the difficulties of interpreting them. They split off into different groups to discuss specific issues around improving aid for health or education. This eventually meant that often 300 or more people would meet at a time, which wasn’t conducive for making simple, coherent conclusions let alone major decisions with political implications.

There’s an interesting theory that suggests a limit of about 150 people to effective networks, known as Dunbar’s number. And it seemed to apply here. In the aid effectiveness world, the “we” was just too big.  Like Goldilocks, countries needed to try another size.

But there was also the risk of being “too small”, like Goldilocks’ second try. Traditionally, as mentioned earlier, it had only been 30-odd aid agencies meeting to discuss aid effectiveness in detail. There was a risk they would slowly become irrelevant, because over the last few decades, a broader set of actors had increased their involvement in development and their influence on poverty reduction worldwide. These actors included emerging economies such as China, the Gulf States, and South Africa. They also included businesses, private institutions such as the Gates Foundations and Non-Governmental Organisations such as Oxfam (as this series of papers for a Brookings Conference in 2010 explores). Countries receiving aid flows were also calling to be more involved in decisions. The “we” was just too small. So again, the Goldilocks search for the “just right” group had to continue.

Hence, just over a year ago, Ministers from all over the world got together once again, this time in Busan in Korea, and also invited the wider set of actors. And that’s where they all decided to create the Global Partnership.  They decided to create a “just right” institution.

The Global Partnership will have three ministerial co-chairs (including DFID’s Secretary of State) and a 15 member steering committee to do the homework, preventing the technical discussions from becoming too detailed, too convoluted or too big to lead to real change.  But this committee and its co-chairs will also represent a wider set of development actors, not just traditional donors, so that it also avoids the mistake of being too small.  It will be able to use their broader knowledge, impact, political clout and commitment.

With the new Global Partnership, the right sized “we”, I’m hoping, like Goldilocks, we’ve found the “just right” group.  I’m hoping this group will have just enough power to influence and change development for the better. So, do watch this space (and don’t, like Goldilocks and my little niece, nod off…)!

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

验证码不清楚,请更换一张 captcha txt

EDMOND BOSILONG

Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.

   HANNAH RYDER

    Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.

LEAH LYNCH

Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.

YIKE FU

China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.

JUDITH MWAI

Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.

OVIGWE EGUEGU

Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.

JING CAI

Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.

PATRICK ANAM

Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.

ROSIE FLOWERS

Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

JADE SCARFE

Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.

ROSIE WIGMORE

Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.

LAUREN ASHMORE

Consultant

Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.

ETSEHIWOT KEBRET

Consultant

Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.

DIBEKULU MULU

Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.

OSARU OMOSIGHO

Project Manager

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.

PIER FERDINANDO CINOTTO

Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.

DAVID TINASHE NYAGWETA

Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds B.com Economics and Statistics and M.com respectively.

IVORY KAIRO

Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.

JOY ENE

Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.

CHENSI LI

Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.

Yixin Yu

Research Analyst 

Yixin is a Junior Research Analyst and her focus areas is on public-private partnership and entrepreneurship. She has over three years of working experience in both private and public sectors in Ethiopia. She was the China Liaison Officer for project ‘Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa’ at International Trade Centre, where she accumulated rich experience in investment and trade promotion

HANNAH RYDER

Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.