Uneven convergence in development? The case of India’s lines of credit to Africa

Barnaby Dye

Research output: Working paper

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This paper examines the uneven convergence between Indian development cooperation
and the (so-called) ‘traditional’ development establishment. Using the case of Indian
government concessional lines of credit (LoCs), handled by the Export–Import Bank, it
demonstrates how diplomatic, strategic and party-political interests drove a major revision in
LoC policy in 2015. The Indian government directly adopted policies from the World Bank
and the UK’s Department for International Development on project selection and design,
tendering and monitoring. These were designed to increase technical proficiency, timeliness
and development outcomes but also to bring about a change in the companies undertaking
these projects. Such policies indicate some degree of departure from the non-interventionist,
non-hierarchical norms of India’s original South–South Cooperation, whereby the recipient
(in theory) exclusively made decisions over what projects were done and how. To some
extent, that role is now shared. This partially mirrors changes among the DAC donors, many
of whom are redefining the definition of OECD Official Development Assistance (ODA),
increasing blended finance and focusing more on economic development (and less on
poverty reduction). However, while converging in these aspects of technical planning and
implementation, the political and strategic interests driving the LoC changes did not extend
to examining developmental or environmental outcomes; state-to-state relations continue to
have primacy in the project-approval process. The paper therefore finds uneven
convergence in India’s development cooperation, with change in technical policies but
greater persistence in norms. This reflects the wider multidirectional evolution of the global
development sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationThe University of Manchester: Manchester
PublisherFutureDAMS/IUKDP Working Paper
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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  • Global Development Institute


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