Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Arianna Mazzieri

The operationalisation of the emerging development effectiveness paradigm: an analysis of two case studies in Angola

Photo of Arianna Mazzieri

My research project focuses on the effectiveness of development cooperation.

The debate about the effectiveness of development cooperation emerged at the end of the 1980s and the harsh criticism arisen from it resulted in the implementation of a new paradigm at the dawn of the 21st century, that is the “aid effectiveness paradigm”.

This paradigm promoted the debate about the quality of aid on an international scale, mainly through the organization of four High Level Fora on aid effectiveness.

The fourth High Level Forum on aid effectiveness, which took place in Busan in 2011, marked a turning point in the international discussion on this issue and was considered to be the starting point of a shift towards a new modus operandi in the field, that is the “development effectiveness paradigm”.

The shift towards the development effectiveness paradigm has been driven by the changes occurred in the international cooperation system in the last decade, which have brought to the replacement of the term "aid effectivenss" by the broader concept of "development effectiveness”, along with the adoption of an agreed framework that officially embodies new actors, that is South-South co-operators, the BRICS, CSOs and the private sector.

The new paradigm reaffirms the orienting principles for development cooperation previously identified in the 2005 Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and introduces some new, as the “inclusiveness” and the “transparency” principles.

The research project aims at investigating the state of operationalisation of such principles, trying to highlight the evolution occurred in their conceptualization as well as the changes in their implementation. To that end, the project will adopt the case study model; selection will be limited to two development projects set in Angola, one led by a CSO and the other led by a government agency.


Development Studies and International Relations has been the core of my academic career.

I took my bachelor degree in “Development and International Cooperation” at the University of Bologna, in 2011.

After that I moved to Portugal, where I took my Master Degree in “History, International Relations and Cooperation” at the University of Porto. There I developed a deeper knowledge of the PALOP and, in particular, of Angola. The interest for this country led me to choose it as the location of the case studies for my research project.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

The choice of undertaking a PhD study has been driven by my firm desire to take up an academic career.  Moreover, undertaking a PhD study represents for me an occasion of conducting an autonomous research on the questions I am particularly  interested in.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

What most interests me about development studies is the possibility of investigating and understanding the mechanisms that underlie the different paths of development experienced by human societies and, in addition, the role that people and institutions can play to promote the transformation of socio-economic  structures.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I would like to work as a lecturer in a higher education institution and, at the same time, collaborate as a consultant with an agency or a CSO dealing with development issues.

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