Merging development agencies: making the right choice

Briefing papers
January 2018

Every few years, the reorganisation of foreign aid bureaucracy becomes a topical issue in development policy circles. The last time this happened was 2013, and it resulted in both Canada and Australia folding their development agencies into their diplomatic services. Current talk of reform and renewal of development agencies in the US and the UK is once again centring on the possibilities of merging development and foreign affairs departments. This raises several questions, which this briefing note aims to address:

  • How are development agencies currently structured?
  • Why do mergers happen?
  • What have mergers achieved?
  • What safeguards can protect development ambitions within merged agencies?