Full video: What will it take to decolonize global development? Devex founder Raj Kumar weighs in

Why It Matters

Global inequality is at a high, and so, therefore, is the relevance of humanitarian aid and global development work. But many argue this work has a colonial power imbalance that perpetuates the very inequity it aims to dissolve.

Raj Kumar doesn’t like using the term ‘aid’ when talking about global humanitarian work. 

He typically doesn’t in his work as founding president and editor in chief of Devex — he uses “development” instead. But he did use it in the title of his book: The Business of Changing the World: How Billionaires, Tech Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Aid Industry.

That’s because, he says, it’s a commonly used and understood term in the international social impact sector. But still, the term has colonial connotations: it implies (and, depending on who you ask, perpetuates) a power imbalance between the Global North, often where aid is dispatched, and the Global South, often where it is received.

And the semantics, however significant, only scratch the surface of the global conversation on decolonizing the aid sector.


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