New Directions in International Development | Teachers College Columbia University

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New Directions in International Development

The flow of aid no longer runs exclusively from north to south
International development funding and expertise have traditionally flowed from northern, colonialist nations to those less wealthy and less developed—many of which lie south of the equator. But since the break-up of the Soviet Union, new patterns of aid have been emerging. South-South: Cooperation in Education and Development, edited by Gita Steiner-Khamsi, TC Professor of Comparative and International Education, and South African scholar Linda Chisholm, charts that new world.
Witness the complex relationship that has developed between Turkey and the nations of post-Soviet Eurasia. According to writer Iveta Silova, Turkey, because of its “strong historical, religious, cultural and ethnolinguistic connections” to countries like Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, was uniquely positioned to become their development partner in the wake of the Soviet collapse. And Leon Paul Tikly and Hillary A. Dachi illuminate what they call a “new regionalism” movement in African education, although even among African nations, development aid is still shaped by “global agendas and elite interests.”
In her chapter, “The Strategic Triad,” Adriana Abdenur writes about “triangular cooperation,” in which a developing country links up with either another developing country or an industrialized one to give assistance to a third country. Her main example is Brazil, where a national agency has worked with Japan to provide technical assistance in East Timor.
In the concluding chapter, Steiner-Khamsi suggests that in most cases aid and ideas move not from nation to nation, but from nation to nation to nation. One imagines a giant map, cluttered with arrows depicting various models of co-, bilateral and multilateral development.
Confusing—but it’s surely better to have a world with a messy web of cooperation than a world with none at all.

Published Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2009