Book presentation: Why we lie about aid

Book Presentation / Panel Discussion

Bonn, 17.09.2018


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Foreign aid is about charity. International development is about technical fixes. At least that is what we, as donor publics, are constantly told. The result is a highly dysfunctional aid system which mistakes short-term results for long-term transformation and gets attacked across the political spectrum, with the right claiming we spend too much, and the left that we don't spend enough.

The reality, as Pablo Yanguas argues in this provocative book, is that aid isn't – or at least shouldn't be – about levels of spending, nor interventions shackled to vague notions of ‘accountability’ and ‘ownership’. Instead, a different approach is possible, one that acknowledges aid as being about struggle, about taking sides, about politics. It is an approach that has been quietly applied by innovative development practitioners around the world, providing political coverage for local reformers to open up spaces for change. Drawing on a variety of convention-defying stories from a variety of countries – from Britain to the US, Sierra Leone to Honduras – Yanguas provides an eye-opening account of what we really mean when we talk about aid.


Welcome by Moderator

  • Stephan Klingebiel, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Book Presentation

  •  Pablo Yanguas

Comments from Panel

  • Peter Krahl, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Claudia Schwegmann, Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Heiner Janus, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Q&A with the Audience

Drinks Reception

Participants were invited to continue discussions over light refreshments following the Q&A.

Hinweis / Please note

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During our events photos and/or videos may be taken which may be published in various media for the purposes of documentation and PR activities. You have the right at any time to point out to the photographer or videographer that you do not want to be photographed or filmed.


Datum / Uhr
17.09.2018 / 18:30 - 20:00


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Tulpenfeld 6
53113 Bonn


Heiner Janus
Phone +49 (0)228 94927-259
Fax +49 (0)228 94927-130


Why We Lie About Aid
Development and the Messy Politics of Change
Pablo Yanguas (2018)