Editor’s Note: The international development community has undergone a radical reconfiguration over the past sixty years. While there is much to celebrate about the burgeoning aid landscape, there is also much to learn and do. In an article in InterAction’s Monday Developments, Noam Unger and Abigail Jones argue that if new and traditional players collaborate effectively, their efforts could be more than the sum of the parts.
The international development community has undergone a radical reconfiguration over the past sixty years. No longer the exclusive purview of developed world officials, the business of global poverty alleviation has both democratized and intensified. Now megaphilanthropists, the private sector, social entrepreneurs, newly emergent bilateral donors such as China and Russia, celebrity advocates, and the global public itself are operating alongside and occasionally at odds with traditional development players. Establishing hybrid for-profit/not-for-profit entities, pioneering multi-stakeholder initiatives, and galvanizing the public, new players are bringing fresh energy, resources and ingenuity to bear on entrenched poverty worldwide. And though some of these actors have been a part of the development landscape for many years, the global explosion of wealth coupled with new media and social networking capabilities of the last decade together enable a considerable shift in the way foreign aid is both administered and distributed.
Homi Kharas delivered the keynote address at IFPRI’s annual staff retreat on September 12, 2018. He explored the evolving development agenda and its implications for policy research.