The overall ambition of this blog is to write about ways to bridge the gap between the Global South and North. (If you’re curious about what led me to this, read a bit about me here.) This is a rather vast subject, and while I don’t feel it necessary to have rigid themes, there are three general areas I will focus on:
Analysing inequalities in the international development system between the Global South and North, in all their forms;
The future of Official Development Assistance, given that many ‘traditional’ donors are seeking to exit or transition from certain countries while new, ‘rising’ donors increase their flows;
Feminism, racism and addressing Northern and Southern imbalances in the production of ‘knowledge’ in development.
A word on terminology
There can often be feisty debates on terminology in development, so I will outline my terms up front.
I intentionally use Global South and Global North. Why? First because I don’t like the terms developing and developed countries – all countries are on a spectrum and if current trends continue, these terms will become more and more obsolete. We could use donor countries and recipient countries, but apart from being bland, the line between the two is increasingly blurred with the rise of new donors in their own right, such as India and China. Second, because it’s a term that resonates with Southern actors in particular and thus may help to start a more constructive dialogue about systemic issues. No it’s not entirely geographically accurate, but neither is the term ‘the West,’ and that is bandied about rather freely.
You will come to see that I use the word ‘local’ in a careful and specific way. As a descriptor, such as ‘local efforts’ or ‘locally-driven activities’, I think it is useful. But I do not use it to refer to people in the Global South, unless we are making a distinction between different geographical levels. As an example, I will use national researcher rather than local researcher, unless I am trying to distinguish between a researcher who covers the entire country (national), one who covers a specific province (provincial), or one who covers their specific area or community (local). There is a lot of disagreement about this, and ‘local people’ is the most common short-hand, but I personally do not feel that it sits right.
Finally, rather than talk about ‘foreign aid’, I will use the term Official Development Assistance (ODA), which more comprehensively captures the financial flows (from bilateral and multilateral aid all the way to development capital investment) by donor countries.
I’m glad that’s out of the way. Get in touch or comment below if you disagree and want to make the case for better terms.
And without further ado, let’s jump in.