Private Foundations and Development Cooperation: Insights from Tanzania

The diversification of the donor landscape represents a key facet of how the operating environment for OECD-DAC aid agencies is changing. So-called ‘new’ actors in international development have the potential not only to provide alternative channels for resource mobilisation, but also to introduce innovative models for providing assistance and to create opportunities for new forms of partnerships with more traditional aid providers. At the same time, the proliferation of development actors may present challenges to the OECD-DAC community and partner governments by introducing competing priorities or modes of implementation and adding to existing coordination hurdles. This project presents the role of private foundations in development cooperation in the case of Tanzania.

Project Lead:
Erik Lundsgaarde

Project Team:

Participants of the 47th Postgraduate Training Course:
Evelyn Funk
Anja Kopyra
Jennifer Richter
Hannah Steinfeldt

Time frame:
2011 - 2012 / completed

Project description

Private foundations are among the new actors whose contributions to global development are attracting growing interest in academic and policy circles. Interest in the development role of foundations is linked more broadly to increasing attention to private sector development contributions among donors and developing country governments. The OECD-DAC community seeks to include such non-DAC development assistance providers in a ‘Global Partnership for International Development Cooperation’ as an extension of efforts to improve aid effectiveness and stimulate thinking on the future of aid.

The foundation sector is heterogeneous. While some private foundations have a long tradition in investing in development, other organisations have entered the development business only recently. Foundations engaged in global development include family foundations established by wealthy individuals and corporate foundations linked to private firms. Numerous claims have been made about the virtues of foundation engagement in global development, including that these organisations are more efficient, results-oriented, and innovative compared to traditional aid providers. These claims are often tied to the perception that integrating business principles in development practice is an essential element of producing more successful development outcomes.

There is still limited knowledge on the nature of foundation priorities in development, their modes of implementing assistance, their relationships with developing country partners, and their relationships with official aid programmes. To address these deficits, this Country Working Group assessed the scope and quality of private foundation engagement in Tanzania. The business models of private foundations and how their priorities and implementation methods are perceived by local stakeholders represented focal points of the analysis.

Beyond the country-specific information on the role of foundations in development cooperation that the study generated, the study also contributed to improving the knowledge base on the complementarities and comparative advantages of public and private development financing more generally.