The Effectiveness of Technical Assistance in Middle Income Countries

29th November 2019
Author: Kelbesa Megersa

The broad literature on Technical Assistance (TA) in Middle Income Countries (MICs) notes that such programs were largely unsatisfactory, particularly in comparison with the scale of TA spending. The evidence suggests that TA programs both in terms of outcomes (e.g. building sustainable capacity) and impact (e.g. contribution to poverty reduction) have fallen short of expectations (Cox and Norrington-Davies, 2019; Greenhill, 2006). Andrews et al. (2012) also claim that five decades of big ineffective capacity building support entails that TA’s generic theory of change (ToC) is deeply problematic. Beyond the academic literature, various reports issued by development agencies (e.g. DFID, Danida, BMZ Germany, AusAID, and BTC) as well as International Financial Institutions (IFIs) (e.g. World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank) have been looked at by this rapid evidence review. However, it should be stressed that some IFIs such as the World Bank are better poised in conducting reviews of TA programmes and also in making findings publicly available – as compared to other IFIs such as the Islamic Development Bank, which is particularly active in TA programmes the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Suggested Citation

Megersa, K. (2019). The Effectiveness of Technical Assistance in Middle Income Countries. K4D Helpdesk Report 705. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


29th November 2019


Continent: Global