Foreign Aid Reciprocity Agreements: Committing Developing Countries to Improve the Effectiveness of Aid When They Become Donors

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Existing best practices for aid delivery are well known and largely uncontroversial but often neglected by bilateral and multilateral aid agencies because of domestic political considerations and bureaucratic resistance. Developing countries should unilaterally ratify an agreement committing them, in the future, after they have experienced sustained and robust economic, social, and political development, to establish their own foreign aid programs that follow existing best practices for aid delivery. Such foreign aid reciprocity agreements would have numerous benefits, including: being an international tool to signal a developing country's resolve to reform and a domestic tool to pressure corrupt public officials to improve; enabling developing countries to take a leadership position in international development discourses; putting pressure on developed countries to implement best practices; and encouraging other developing countries to support and eventually adopt aid reciprocity agreements, which would lead to an increase in the amount of aid in the future. Furthermore, the idea of unilateral reciprocity agreements could potentially be expanded to areas of international interaction beyond foreign aid such as finance, trade, security, technology transfer, migration, and environmental policies.

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The Law and Development Review