This chapter considers the various ideas about development that have shaped international development assistance over 60 years. It looks at the various motives for co-operation and assesses the current state and role of development co-operation in light of globalization and significant progress in reducing poverty in developing countries. It also considers the role that development co-operation has played towards the Millennium Development Goals and what future aid will play in a very changed development environment relative to other sources of finance. Since the Second World War there has been a broad understanding among developed countries that in order for the world to become a moderately equitable place, or at least to alleviate some of the worst suffering, there needs to be some form of international assistance. For some developed countries, this follows a perceived sense of responsibility following the process of decolonization. For others, it is intended to assist less developed states to reduce the probability of their further decline and potential for instability. Many donors also provide aid to enhance their own economic, political and strategic interests, through encouraging their exports, or shaping the economic policies or political persuasion of recipient countries and ‘stabilizing’ other states. The alternative term ‘development co-operation’ perhaps captures some of these mutual benefits which have often been influential in the nature and direction of aid.
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