To be effective, institutions within the international aid system require a variety of working relationships. Ideally, each relationship will be tailored to the goals and circumstances of the parties concerned in equitable and mutually beneficial ways. However, in many cases this does not occur. Too often, imbalances in capabilities and power between development actors lead to relationships that are not the result of even-handed negotiation and mutuality. In too many instances, the relational principle actually experienced is one of development as prescription and imposition: a structural illness. This unwelcome situation generates friction and diversion of effort that reduce effectiveness, increase transaction costs and discredits the basic principle of development as co-operation. It also undermines trust within the credibility of the aid system.
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