Rethinking Ownership of Development in Africa: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking Ownership of Development in Africa

1st Edition

By T.D. Harper-Shipman


152 pages

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Hardback: 9780367352905
pub: 2019-08-22
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Rethinking Ownership of Development in Africa demonstrates how instead of empowering the communities they work with, the jargon of development ownership often actually serves to perpetuate the centrality of multilateral organizations and international donors in African development, awarding a fairly minimal role to local partners.

In the context of today’s development scheme for Africa, ownership is often considered to be the panacea for all of the aid-dependent continent’s development woes. Reinforced through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, ownership is now the preeminent procedure for achieving aid effectiveness and a range of development outcomes. Throughout this book the author illustrates how the ownership paradigm dictates who can produce development knowledge and who is responsible for carrying it out, with a specific focus on the health sectors in Burkina Faso and Kenya. Under this paradigm, despite the ownership narrative, national stakeholders in both countries are not producers of development knowledge; they are merely responsible for its implementation. This book challenges the preponderance of conventional international development policies that call for more ownership from African stakeholders without questioning the implications of donor demands and historical legacies of colonialism in Africa. Ultimately, the findings from this book make an important contribution to critical development debates which question international development as an enterprise capable of empowering developing nations.

This lively and engaging book challenges readers to think differently about the ownership, and as such will be of interest to researchers of Development Studies and African Studies, as well as for development practitioners within Africa.


"This well written book is a critical interrogation of the term "ownership" in the context of development, which is necessary as the World Bank, civil society organisations and African governments remain ensnared in new forms of coloniality. By comparing how Kenya and Burkina Faso embrace the "ownership paradigm" in their respective health sectors, Harper-Shipman exposes how maldevelopment continues to be blamed on African countries rather than the ahistorical neo-liberal policy frameworks of donors. It is a fine contribution to the study of the political economy of development." -- Ama Biney PhD, independent scholar, Author of The Political and Social Thought of Kwame Nkrumah, London, UK

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations


1. Theorizing Ownership

2. La Santé Avant Tout (Health Before Everything)

3. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

4. Ownership in Comparison

Conclusion: Go Back and Get It

About the Author

T. D. Harper-Shipman is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Davidson College, USA

About the Series

Routledge Studies in African Development

The series features innovative and original research on African development from scholars both within and outside of Africa. It particularly promotes comparative and interdisciplinary research targeted at a global readership.

In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The series welcomes submissions from established and junior authors on cutting-edge and high-level research on key topics that feature in global news and public debate. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Helena Hurd (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries