JICA Research Institute

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Working Papers

No.88 Chains of Knowledge Creation and Emerging Donors

The objective is to cast new light on the possible contribution of ‘emerging donors,’ highlighting their ‘knowledge creation’ based on the experience of receiving aid. The process of knowledge creation is examined through a model composed of three hypotheses. A knowledge is created through the interaction between ‘local knowledge’ and ‘foreign (donor’s) knowledge.’ A new knowledge also evolves through the interaction between explicit and tacit knowledge. The created knowledge plays a vital role in the aid giving of emerging donors. Contrary to the mainstream idea of technical cooperation as a ‘one-way transfer’ of the best practices, the above model emphasizes the ‘two-way interaction’ between donors and recipients.
To check how the proposed model can explain the reality of emerging donors’ activities, three in-depth case studies are presented. First, China nurtured their pragmatic model of economic cooperation through the interaction between its own idea of ‘Da Jingmao’ and Japan’s idea of ‘Trinity Development Cooperation’, which the Chinese policy-makers found effective based on the evaluation of Japan’s aid. Nowadays, China extensively applies the created knowledge to the engagement with other developing countries, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa. Second, Thailand achieved the gigantic Eastern Seaboard Development Plan (ESDP) based on their tacit knowledge of ‘checks and balances a la Thai’ and Japanese explicit knowledge of coastal industrial complex construction. The evolution of the local/tacit knowledge was triggered by the strained donor-recipient relationship with the World Bank who criticized the largescale investment. Today, the Thai leaders are keen to assist Myanmar in utilizing the experience of the ESDP. Third, the chains of knowledge creation are identified bylinking Japan’s learning of the model of the TVA (the Tennessee Valley Authority), their application to the Aichi Canal under the World Bank loan, Japan’s assistance to the Brantas River Basin Development Plan in the central Java, and the evolution of the Indonesian concept of ‘One River, One Plan, One Management’, which was adopted as the basic philosophy of an Asian regional institute of water resources management. Throughout the link, a basic element is shared: the pursuit of ‘integration.’
The results of testing the plausibility of the hypothetical model show that the four East Asian aid recipients created new knowledge of their own through the interaction with the donors; the next step is to test the cases of other regions. The emerging donors could contribute to the global development agenda by utilizing their newly created knowledge.

Keywords: knowledge creation, interaction, local knowledge, tacit knowledge, emerging donor

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