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Enrique Mendizabal, ''What is the point of the development sector?: Unmediated support is the future''

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I gave a speech at the ACFID Universities Network’s conference in Sydney in late November that challenge the need for an Aid, or Development, Sector.

This is not a word for word account of that speech but rather an edited version of it, written afterwards, and with the support of very useful comments provided by some of the participants.

There was also a pre-confernce heated debate with some ACFID staff members at the famous BBQ King over delicious crispy duck. So I thank them for that.

The point of my speech, an idea that is still ‘work in progress’, was to argue that the development sector, the aid industry, has developed into such a separate sector, sometimes claiming to be a profession and a discipline, that now bears little resemblance with other sectors and professions from where it should (or at least did) draw its legitimacy. As a consequence, international development policies are not designed and implemented by, say, education, public health or energy experts, as would be expected in developed and developing countries alike, but by a motley crew of individuals who have little more than the study and knowledge of ‘the aid industry’ to claim as their expertise.

I say this knowing that it is a bit of a generalisation but I still feel that many of the most prolific ‘development experts’ would not be trusted with policy in their own countries but are still free to logframethe lives of millions around the world.

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