in: Welt-Sichten 11/2013, 60-61
Review of Matt Andrew (2013) The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development and Thomas Carothers / Diane de Gramont (2013) Development Aid Confronts Politics. These two books are essential reading for anyone involved in the 21st Century development business. Researchers, policymakers, and NGO staff will find theoretical insights, practical wisdom, and nuggets of old fashioned common sense in both books. Both are dismissive of the notion that development aid can be – or ever has been – ‘politically neutral.’ They show that although development agencies know more about the local contexts in which institutional change takes place than they did a few years ago, they struggle to turn this knowledge into action. Both books argue strongly that aid providers need to understand local contexts better, avoid imposing pre-determined technocratic development models, and practice what they preach.