The notion of ‘ownership’ has occupied a central place in measuring the effectiveness of North–South cooperation. How is it represented in South–South cooperation (SSC) and how does it affect the effectiveness of SSC? There is no clear answer in the existing literature. In this article, we describe the representation of ‘ownership’ in SSC and explain how it has affected the process and impact of SSC projects using case studies of three uniformly designed Chinese agricultural aid projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Based on long-term participatory observation and in-depth interviews, we find that ‘ownership’ in SSC is represented differently from project design to implementation. Divergence and ambiguity exist among different stakeholders on the operation of ‘ownership’. ‘Co-ownership’ of two partners at the local level contributes to the effectiveness of SSC projects while ‘de-ownership’ and ‘forced ownership’ have a negative impact on the survival and sustainable development of SSC projects.
Volume 52 Number 2
Published: November 26, 2021