, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 509-519
Date: 12 Jan 2012

Combining value for money with increased aid to fragile states: welcome partnership or clash of agendas?

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This article examines the origins and main strands of recent debates within the international development community regarding the tensions between increasing aid allocation to so-called ‘fragile states’ and growing domestic and international pressure for donors to demonstrate measurable results and returns on their investments. With particular reference to the UK context, the paper examines how the confluence of these two agendas is being viewed, at least publicly, and some of the main arguments that have been put forward about why they may be difficult to pursue simultaneously. It asks whether or not it is feasible that donors will explicitly seek to address and resolve the apparent trade-offs between these two agendas, and concludes that in both international and domestic political arenas, ‘good enough’ aid effectiveness, or a more nuanced, ‘developmentised’ understanding of value for money, are unlikely to become palatable or politically viable any time soon.