South-south cooperation and the embarrassment factor

This just occurred to me. South-south cooperation can be more politically palatable to developing countries than the patronising tone that can come with technical advice from traditional aid givers. That’s old news. But what about further down the food chain? A big problem around here is that lots of civil servants cannot be a***ed to do their jobs properly, and require their palms to be greased before they will consider rousing themselves from today’s newspaper. Will they respond any better to technical advisers from slightly richer countries who are nonetheless seem in some ways as ‘one of us’? In short can officials be embarrassed into action by an apparent friend who is aghast at their lack of enterprise? Or will the inevitable divide between expatriate technical adviser and local staff prove more powerful?


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by David on March 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Upton Sinclair said “It is impossible to make a man understand something if his livelihood depends on not understanding it.” The political palatability issue seems to this observer to often be a fig leaf for foisting off direct pressure for change from “north” countries, to the extent that they really do generate such pressure.

    As a thought experiment, I wonder if there is any evidence that the country of origin of UN Peacekeeping, and the relative influence of it culturally or similarity in terms of wealth/poverty, has any influence on how effectively Peacekeepers control violence in their areas of concern. It’s the closest example I can think of to south-south cooperation as a model within an international assistance framework. My hypothesis would be that this has very little influence on conflict dynamics or outcomes, but I’m open to finding out otherwise.


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