Sensible partnership

Readers' views No 248, March 2005
OECD Observer

Secretary-General Donald J. Johnston rightly identifies lack of coherence as a factor impeding the effectiveness of international development strategies (“Giving development a chance”, OECD Observer No 245, November 2004). But there are, I think, some early signs that useful lessons are now being learned.

From an effectively balkanised situation, with so many of the key players–IFIs, WTO, EU, donor countries and NGOs doing splendid work but essentially ploughing their own furrows–there are (not before time) indications of progress towards a more integrated approach. Donors are working in harness with each other and with recipients, to complementary rather than competing agendas.

The recently published report of the Commission for Africa is an impressive example of a new resolution to consider development strategies in the round. In its 460-odd pages, improved governance takes its place alongside preventive security strategies, the dismantling of trade barriers, action on health, education and exclusion, measures for encouraging investment and entrepreneurship, substantial increases in aid targeted on poverty reduction and last but not least more efficient implementation by the IFIs and Africa’s own multinational institutions. Addressing Donald Johnston’s point about the flight of skilled professionals from Africa, the Commission recommends that donors should work closely with African governments to fund salary enhancement programmes for particular priority skills which are difficult to recruit or retain.

Meanwhile, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, while beating the drum for more trade liberalisation in the WTO’s Doha Development Round, is pressing the case for capacitybuilding in the poorer countries if they are to have a real chance of joining in the world trade system.

What all these “holistic” approaches have in common is a new willingness to build genuine across-the-board partnerships between donors and the developing countries, coupled with practical “bottomup” initiatives–not out of political correctness, but because collaborative approaches are more likely to deliver the goods.

Let’s hope that we can now move quickly from shared analyses and agreed approaches to real plans of action–beginning at the G8 Summit in the UK in July, and at the UN’s special summit in September 2005 to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Maurice Fraser
Fellow in European Politics, London School of Economics

©OECD Observer No 248, March 2005

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q1 2019 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% May 2019 annual
Trade: +0.4% exp, -1.2% imp, Q1 2019
Unemployment: 5.2% July 2019
Last update: 8 July 2019

OECD Observer Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Subscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To order your own paper editions,email

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • MCM logo
  • The following communiqué and Chair’s statement were issued at the close of the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial level, this year presided by the Slovak Republic.
  • Food production will suffer some of the most immediate and brutal effects of climate change, with some regions of the world suffering far more than others. Only through unhindered global trade can we ensure that high-quality, nutritious food reaches those who need it most, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, write in their latest Project Syndicate article. Read the article here.
  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2019