JICA Research Institute

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No.106 Convergence of Aid Models in Emerging Donors? Learning Processes, Norms and Identities, and Recipients

This paper analyses aid models of emerging economies in terms of their orientation to the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) aid model. This paper first provides a short literature review. After summarizing the DAC aid model, several hypotheses to account for the convergence process of aid models are considered, followed by a discussion of how recipient perceptions of desirable aid may also work indirectly to promote both the convergence and divergence of aid models. In addition, this paper considers the hypothesis that the convergence and divergence of aid models may be promoted and inhibited by a donor's learning of other models as well as predominant norms and identities, which are shared by major aid-related stakeholders.

Secondly, this paper provides a brief overview of some characteristics of individual donors such as China, India, South Africa and South Korea and Arab countries. Arab donors have created an Islamic aid model, China utilizes an emerging superpower aid model, South Africa advocates a Southern hybrid aid model, and South Korea has established an Asian DAC aid model. While China and India have kept their distance from the DAC aid model, the aid models of South Africa and Arab donors have incorporated elements of the DAC aid model, with the Korean aid model introducing it most completely.

Thirdly, the paper will explore how the perceptions of recipients, donor learning from other donors, and the norms and identities of emerging donors may influence different levels of convergence of aid models. In terms of recipient perceptions, Chinese aid has generally been appreciated partially because the approach is distinct from the DAC aid model. South Africa has neighboring countries that are cautious about the asymmetric relationship and trade dependency on South Africa. To ease their concerns, South Africa incorporated elements of the DAC aid model, while offering some kind of assistance through the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and DBSA. Donor learning of other models is relevant to South Africa and South Korea. Identities and norms of donors are quite influential in building and re-building the aid models. China has a ‘superpower identity' and Arab donors have a ‘religious identity'; these outstanding identities and norms underlie their unique aid models, which potentially challenge the established international aid regime. Unlike ‘norm-makers' in China, middle powers in the South and North, as ‘norm-takers', follow international aid regimes, regardless of the difference in convergence levels. South Africa balances the DAC aid model with African solidarity, while South Korea, as a full member of DAC, may promote strong convergence.

Keywords: international aid regime, DAC, convergence, aid models, norms and identities

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