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Beneficiary country ownership and the politics of partnership in trilateral development cooperation: a case study of Zambia

KAMWENGO, CYNTHIA,MWANGALA (2020) Beneficiary country ownership and the politics of partnership in trilateral development cooperation: a case study of Zambia. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Global discourses on trilateral development cooperation (TDC) have overlooked the experiences of beneficiary countries and focused on the concerns of development cooperation providers. This is a significant gap given that TDC is increasingly being promoted as a modality that supports country ownership, equality between Northern and Southern partners, and efforts to achieve the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. In response, this study draws on the case of Zambia to examine how the politics of partnership affect a beneficiary country’s experience with exercising ownership and leadership of TDC projects. It employs an institutional ethnography based on key stakeholder interviews and archival analysis, to capture the beneficiary perspective of country ownership and partnerships. It also engages with postcolonial perspectives on development cooperation to gain insight into how power and agency operate in the production and dissemination of development knowledge.

The study finds that Zambian approaches to country ownership in TDC differ from definitions in global policy frameworks and reflect institutionalised responses to the experiences of colonial governance and donor dominance. This demonstrates the significance of a more nuanced understanding of beneficiary agency and the historical context of partnerships. The study also demonstrates that TDC is intertwined with the geopolitical and commercial interests of partner countries, although the dominant policy narratives prefer to concentrate on the technical aspects of project management. It also illustrates the diverse ways in which Zambian stakeholders navigate these challenges and concludes that a beneficiary country can achieve real and observable development outcomes from TDC, despite the politics of partnership. However, it argues that Zambia’s ability to ensure the sustainability of development outcomes are constrained by internal dynamics, rather than the underlying ambitions or power inequalities with its development cooperation providers. The findings contribute fresh insight into debates on the changing geographies of global development and emerging literature on the politics of knowledge production in South-South/trilateral cooperation research.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Postcolonialism, development cooperation, knowledge transfers, Zambia
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Sep 2020 14:38

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