06 July 2012

South-South Aid Grows by One: India's New Aid Agency

Long rumored, India finally established its own international aid agency, the Development Partnership Administration. An article in India's Sunday Guardian reported on the agency that will be funded to the tune of $15 billion over five years.
This new agency, called Development Partnership Administration (DPA), will oversee all the development partnership projects that India will undertake in developing countries around the world. DPA is headed by Ministry of External Affairs' (MEA) additional secretary P.S. Raghavan and will bring under one umbrella all agencies involved with foreign aid and development projects within the MEA. The DPA is being formed by streamlining three different organisations within the MEA that currently oversee India-sponsored development projects abroad. Foreign aid from the BRIC group of nations to other developing nations has increased drastically in the past few years, with a Global Humanitarian Association estimate suggesting foreign aid from Brazil, Russia, India and China more than doubling between 2005 and 2008. 
"We do not like to call ourselves a donor," says Syed Akbaruddin, joint secretary with the Ministry of External Affairs. "We call it development partnership because it is in the framework of sharing development experiences. It follows a model different from that followed in the conventional North-South economic cooperation patterns, hence the designation of Development Partnership Administration, it is administering our development partnership projects."
A reported 60 countries already benefit from India-sponsored projects. The include neighbors like Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Afghanistan. The GlobalPost points out that the decision is as motivated by foreign policy needs as seen in donors like AusAid, DfID and USAID.

China is already making big splashes in land grabs purchases and infrastructure investments and Brazil has emerged as a donor in Africa as well. South-South cooperation is on its way, but pales in comparison to traditional donors.

What matters here is that the recipient countries are transitioning to join the ranks of donors. It will bring about new forms of aid, hopefully, that could see the transition of even more countries.