The Future of Foreign Foreign Aid

Foreign aid is a development strategy in turmoil. Much has been written over the past few years of the failure of foreign aid to address the challenges of developing countries. Books like Moyo’s Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa and Easterly’s The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good decry the failure of the traditional model of foreign aid to effect lasting change in the lives of the world’s poor. These failures have challenged many long held beliefs and practices within the sector, many of which date back to the post-WWII era with the founding of multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In spite of these efforts, global economic inequality persists, countries and communities remain underdeveloped, and there is a lack of transparency regarding the use and efficacy of aid funds. These underwhelming results have contributed to the consensus that the traditional model of aid is ineffective and must be radically reconceptualized.

This semester, my group in OCAD’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation program conducted a foresight project on the future of foreign aid. Our final report – The Future of Foreign Aid – explores key trends and drivers of change, four scenarios of possible futures to 2040 using Dator’s Four Generic Futures, and discusses implications and strategies for Canadian nonprofits working in development. Due credit to Jenn Chan, Lauren Snowball, and Karen Oikonen.

Engineers without Borders Rethink Conference – Presentation



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