Tracks for the decolonisation of the Belgian development cooperation

Project Details


There is an increasing questioning about the effectiveness of development aid. Academy, social movements, and development aid agencies show that development aid has little impact on poverty reduction and improved quality of life for the so-called underdeveloped. Additionally, in the name of development, North-South relations reproduce dominant (colonial) schemes and modernity violence (e.g., capitalism, racism, colonialism, hetero-normativity, patriarchy, extractivism, etc.). Therefore, there is a need for a different way to look at partnership and inclusion. Critical scholars argue that a fundamental socio-cultural transformation is necessary, starting with the deconstruction of the development concept through an in-depth decolonization process that could open the possibility of building a pluriverse that helps us address the global socio-environmental crisis. But how can we unlearn the colonial matrix habits that we do not even realize we have and imagine other possible forms of cooperation for development? And how can we take the dynamics of exclusion within hegemonic structures of power seriously? To answer these questions, first, we need to critically position ourselves about colonial legacies, power relations, privileges, locations, and histories. Then, the purpose of this study is two-fold. First, examining the complexities, tensions, and paradoxes that emerge in the development aid of the Belgian cooperation institutions by interrogating the concept of development aid itself and second, generate new imaginaries that potentially lead to new forms of development North-South partnerships. To answer these questions is necessary to opt for a collaborative research-based approach where different stakeholders can co-create new imaginaries of development cooperation. The expected result is to create a pedagogical and collaborative space to generate new vocabularies and development aid understandings to change practices. This space will offer the possibility to outline the implications for mapping new visions of decolonization in the development aid context, break with the mono-linear discourse of development, and enact commitments against colonial schemes and the violence of modernity.
Effective start/end date1/04/2131/08/22

Flemish discipline codes

  • Other social sciences not elsewhere classified


  • Decolonisation
  • Belgian development cooperation