In spite of major aid efforts, poverty and poor governance persist in a large segment of developing countries. Different visions on aid and different modalities have been put forward throughout history to overcome stalled development, with varying, but overall disappointing, results. Since the turn of the millennium, political, economic and institutional factors are considered the determining factors for pro-poor development, and aid was introduced as a lever for institutional change in both economic and political spheres of governance. Notwithstanding the enthusiasm surrounding the Millennium Development Goals (2000), and the commitment of donors to change the way they deliver aid (Paris Declaration 2005), progress is slow and uneven. Today, the world has become an increasingly complex scene with more donors than ever, including the BRICs who are now co-signers of the Busan Outcome Document (2011) which establishes a Global Partnership for Development Cooperation. Forms of south-south cooperation and triangular cooperation are starting to flourish. Aid and development concerns are furthermore tied in with concerns regarding economic downturns, climate change, health pandemics, food and fuel crises etc. The intensive programme 'the Politics and Economics of Aid', addresses the past, present and future challenges of aid for development, its modalities, its actors and their (changing) contexts.
The primary objective of the programme is to support ongoing research on the political, economic and institutional aspects of development cooperation (aid) and aid effectiveness. This research may take place in university settings (such as PhD research), but also in policy oriented settings such as NGOs, think tanks, aid agencies, etc. Next, the programme wants to contribute to the creation of a sustainable research network on aid so as to enable knowledge exchange on the topic of aid effectiveness, and cross fertilization between academic and policy oriented arenas of research.