The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


The Role of Multilateral International Aid Agencies in the Provision of Self Help Housing

28 January 1985

Author: Charles Small

Publication Date: August, 1991

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role and objectives of multilateral international aid agencies in the provision of self-help housing in developing countries. The largest and most influential of the multilateral aid agencies in this domain is the World Bank (Donelson, Hardoy and Schkolnik 1986). Using the World Bank as a case study, this paper will assess the various issues and debates surrounding this topic.

The thesis of this paper is that the World Bank's major function is to mobilise international capital, so as to stimulate its flow to new markets in developing countries, while acting to safeguard the interests of this investment. It is the contention of this paper that the specific role and objectives of the World Bank in the provision of self help housing will vary, according to the particular conditions of specific social formations in which it operates at the project level. The paper will address the nature of the World Bank and multilateral international aid in general with regard to the provision of selfhelp housing. This topic is of the utmost importance since - in the field of development - various interests look to the World Bank to provide the solution to the severe shortage and the poor condition of housing stock in developing countries.

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