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Development Debates: Are We Getting Development Aid Right?

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 18:00 to 20:00
John Snow Theatre, LSHTM

This was the first of the new London International Development Centre (LIDC) and The Guardian debate series 'Development Debates'. 

LIDC teamed up with The Guardian Development Network to host a series of panel debates on current key issues in international development. Four speakers, comprised of academics from the Bloomsbury Colleges, development practitioners and policy-makers, took questions from the audience. Discussions were guided by a moderator, and the discussion was continued after the debate at a networking reception.

Are We Getting Development Aid Right?

At the moment we have "official" development aid (ODA) provided by traditional donors such as DFID and development aid from all other sources including private companies and philanthropic foundations. As these "non- official" donors grow in power and influence we need to question, does this system of aid work?

Over 150 world leaders have signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals which will require huge development financing, beyond the reach of ODA. So is this the moment to ditch ODA and move onto an entirely new system of aid?


Professor Stephen Chan, OBE, SOAS

Stephen Chan is widely respected as a distinguished academic who has made a major contribution to the academic understanding of international relations and world politics in general, and African development in particular. He has written extensively on Sino-African relations, and advises African ministers, big corporations, peacekeepers and British and Chinese governments on Africa.  In 2013 he edited The Morality of China in Africa: The Middle Kingdom and the Dark Continent (Zed Books), bringing together a collection of essays giving Chinese and African perspectives on China’s role in Africa.

Formerly an international civil servant with the Commonwealth Secretariat, he has worked throughout Africa on diplomatic and academic assignments. He was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to Africa and higher education.

Fatimah Kelleher

Fatimah Kelleher is an independent international women’s rights and social development professional with sixteen years’ experience of working with a variety of international, regional and national stakeholders primarily in Africa, and also in South Asia and the Caribbean. She works actively towards women’s collective movements and individual agency in economic justice and empowerment, as well as in education, and health, and has multi-disciplinary expertise in research, advocacy, project design/programming, and policy.

Fatimah is a member of WISE Development, a global network of associates who are recognised experts in their fields. WISE Development has built a strong reputation for supporting international agencies, governments and NGOs to make real progress towards achieving gender equality and improving the lives of women and girls.

Professor Kara Hanson, LSHTM

Kara Hanson is Professor of Health System Economics, and has nearly 25 years’ experience working in international health. She studied economics and political science, development economics, and did her doctorate in health economics at Harvard University. She started her career as a health planner in the Ministry of Health, Swaziland, where she first learned about the importance of health systems as the basis for delivering priority health interventions. 

Kara is co-Research Director of RESYST - Resilient and Responsive Health Systems, which is a UK-DFID funded research consortium bringing together researchers from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, India, Vietnam and the UK. She is also a member of the LSHTM Centre for Evaluation which aims to improve global health practice through evaluation and innovations in methodology and research.

Stephen Doughty MP (Labour)

Stephen is the Labour and Cooperative MP for Cardiff South and Penarth since 2012 and recently served as the Shadow Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Trade and Investment. He is a member of the Parliamentary International Development Committee Group and of the International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

Stephen worked for many years in a range of campaigning roles in international charities including World Vision, Oxfam and Make Poverty History. As a senior policy adviser on poverty, development, trade and humanitarian affairs to the Secretary of State for International Development in the last Labour Government – Stephen played his part in responding to international disasters like the Haiti earthquake, pushing to help make healthcare and education free for some of the world’s poorest people, and tackling global challenges like climate change. 

Watch a full recording of the debate here: