Comparing British, Japanese, Swedish and World Bank Aid

mm X mm
0 7969 2058 3
In print
New edition

  • The first detailed critique of an important new fashion in the world of development aid
  • A detailed study of four of the most influential development agencies - including the World Bank
  • Essential reading for development specialists and of interest to comparative educationalists

In 1996, the World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, declared that his organization would henceforth be 'the knowledge bank'. A new discourse of knowledge-based aid has since spread rapidly across the development field. This book is the first detailed attempt to analyse this new discourse and practice. Through an examination of four agencies -- the World Bank, the British Department for International Development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency -- it explores what this new approach to aid means in both theory and practice. It argues that too much of the emphasis of knowledge-based aid has been on developing capacity within agencies rather than addressing the expressed needs of Southern partners. Moreover, it questions whether knowledge-based aid increases agency certainty about what constitutes good development.

Table of contents:
1. Introduction
Setting the scene - Research questions - A new way of researching a new way of working - Knowledge theory and knowledge research - Researching documents in a digital world - Interviewing agency staff - Virtual participant observation - Research as participation - Dissemination as research - Structure of the book

2. The New Aid Agenda
A brief history of aid - World Conferences, International Development Targets and pro-poor growth - Moving beyond the donor-recipient relationship? - The discovery of knowledge for development

3. Knowledge for Development
Introduction - The origins of knowledge-based aid - The knowledge economy - Knowledge management - Organisational learning - Knowledge-based aid - Knowledge for development - Knowledge-based aid activities - Knowledge-based aid or learning-led development? - Alternative accounts of knowledge and development - A brief concluding comment

4. The World Bank or the Knowledge Bank?
Introduction - The World Bank's older knowledge strategies - The new knowledge environment and the knowledge WDR - The key role of education in knowledge for development - The new knowledge-sharing World Bank - The current status of knowledge sharing in the World Bank - Knowledge versus operations: a continuing tension - Bank knowledge projects which privilege knowledge development and sharing in and with the South - The (Global) Development Gateway - Concluding remarks

5. From Information Management to Knowledge Sharing: DFID's Unfinished Revolution
Introduction - DFID's knowledge discourse - The White Papers - The target strategy papers - Some further comments on knowledge and development in the major DFID texts - Knowledge and development in internal texts - Reviewing knowledge and development discourses across internal and external documents - DFID's knowledge projects - DFID as an honest broker of development knowledge - DFID as a smarter knowledge user - Other related projects on data, information and learning - An overview of DFID's knowledge projects - DFID's knowledge products - The White Papers - The target strategy papers - Overall trends across DFID's knowledge products - DFID's knowledge practices - How should we judge DFID's approach to knowledge and development?

6. Knowledge, Learning and Capacity in the Swedish Approach to Development Cooperation
Introduction - Historical overview - SIDA's discourses of knowledge, learning and capacity - Sida's account of the relationship between knowledge and development - Sida, knowledge and research - Sida as a learning organisation - Sida's narratives of capacity building and institutional development - Sida and information - Sida as a generator of development knowledge - Action programmes - Sida's other knowledge products - Sida's initiatives to support knowledge, learning and capacity development - Research cooperation - Capacity development - Organisational learning - Knowledge and learning in practice - Learning versus knowing: concluding comments

7. Experience, Experts and Knowledge in Japanese Aid Policy and Practice
Japan's own development experience - Shared experience as the preferred form of bilateral cooperation - Experts and generalists in development aid - Sources of policy knowledge in Japanese develo

KENNETH KING is professor of international and comparative education and director of the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh.
SIMON MCGRATH was a research fellow at the Centre of African Studies, and became research director at the Human Sciences Research Council in October 2002.
Both have published extensively in African studies and international comparative education.

Co-publication with Zed Books