Policy Report

Development Cooperation from a Partner Perspective: How can Germany and other donors perform better in the eyes of their partner countries?

Date Published

Jan 14, 2021


Kerstin Guffler, Ani Harutyunyan, Matthew DiLorenzo, Tanya Sethi, Mirko Eppler, Marie-Sophie Heinelt


DEval — German Institute for Development Evaluation


Guffler, K., A. Harutyunyan, M. DiLorenzo, T. Sethi, M. Eppler, & M. S. Heinelt. (2020). Development Cooperation from a Partner Perspective. How can Germany and other donors perform better in the eyes of their partner countries? German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), Bonn.

Translated Version

Entwicklungszusammenarbeit Aus Sicht Der Partner


Partner perspectives are of particular relevance for Germany and the international donor community, because partner countries can increasingly select with whom they cooperate. Thus, favourable donor assessments by partners will become important for a donor to stay in the game and to be able to eventually contribute to the achievement of development outcomes in countries of the Global South. In addition, donors should have an interest in knowing how their support for internal policy processes in their partner countries is assessed by those countries’ policymakers and practitioners, because these partner-country stakeholders can be expected to be among the best judges of the quality of the support provided.

Even as partner countries play an increasingly important role in development cooperation over the last decade, research about partner assessments of donors remains rare. This study fills this research gap by asking how partner-country policymakers and practitioners assess Germany’s and other donors’ support and what donors can do to improve the quality of their support in the eyes of their partners. It builds on an earlier joint study by AidData and DEval that focused on analysing assessments of Germany’s official development cooperation.

This study is a collaboration and is based on AidData’s 2017 Listening to Leaders Survey, involving nearly 2,400 partner-country policymakers and representatives of civil society and the private sector. We complement the survey with 136 qualitative interviews involving 193 partner-country policymakers and practitioners in four country case studies (Albania, Cambodia, Colombia, and Malawi). Based on a conceptual framework that draws on the policy cycle model, we analyse two measures of partner assessment: donors’ perceived influence in agenda setting and perceived helpfulness in policy implementation.

The aim of this study is to inform donors about how to improve their support for internal policy processes in the eyes of partners. Results show that action can be taken at three levels: partner-country selection and resource allocation (macro level), adherence to aid effectiveness principles (meso level), and donor–partner interactions (micro level).

Matthew DiLorenzo

Matthew DiLorenzo

Research Analyst

Tanya Sethi
Policy Analysis

Tanya Sethi

Senior Policy Analyst

No items found.