Jonathan Glennie considers the merits and limitations of results-based aid.
There was a time when countries were being forced to adopt fees for basic health services, a practice now discredited by the overwhelming evidence. Today, by proposing to hand decision-making over fully to the recipient country, COD aid demonstrates a post-ideological humility regarding how to achieve development. The fact that China has become a mighty power has only added to the sense that there is more than one way to fry and egg.
Yet the question of which eggs we should be frying still lingers. It will still be easy to disagree whether the targets set in any results-based agreement will have any meaningful impact on development. Recipient governments might have an explicit say on what their priorities are, but donors can continue to cherry pick the outcomes they want to start, say, a COD contract for.
So there is still room for ideology and disagreement here.