Foreign development assistance has been widely used for the last 60 years. In spite of changing conditions in the geopolitical scene and the increasing number of new development actors, development assistance has retained its salience. Most countries around the globe are involved in the aid regime, either as recipients, as donors and frequently as both. Middle-income countries (MICs) that until recently were recipients of aid, today are rivalling traditional donors practices.
Despite MICs’ economic growth rates, the distribution of income is extremely unequal. Pockets of wealth are surrounded by oceans of poverty, and yet they are actively increasing their development assistance offer. If middle-income countries still have domestic challenges to overcome, why do they engage in the provision of development assistance? While some argue that MICs use it to advance foreign policy interests in the same way that traditional donors do, this work will put forward that elements unique to these countries, such as the desire to reaffirm themselves as global actors, strongly drive their South-South cooperation policies.
This paper aims to answer the question of why MICs offer development assistance through the study of Latin American cooperation policies. For this purpose, the author proposes to build a typology based on the motivations of traditional donors, which will facilitate the comparison of traditional and emerging donors’ practices. This analysis will be supported by a combination of IR approaches. The implications of this work include deeper understanding of the drivers of development assistance policies and providing elements to extend similar studies to other MICs.