NCCR North-South Dialogue No. 25

by Andrea Weder and Claudia Zingerli

Bern, NCCR North-South 2010

This Dialogue paper looks back on the history of 40 years of Swiss-Bolivian development cooperation. Adopting a discourse analysis approach, the study detects moments of change and ruptures in the international, Swiss, and Bolivian development discourses, and analyses the implications of these changes for Swiss development cooperation in Bolivia during the four decades submitted to scrutiny. 
In Bolivia, four moments of change can be identified. Two of them constituted a rupture in the development dis- course of Bolivia. The first rupture was in 1985 with the beginning of the neoliberal era. At the centre of this new policy were the globally advocated structural adjustment programmes. The most fundamental rupture in the devel- opment discourse in Bolivia was marked, however, in 2005 by the election of the indigenous president Evo Morales. His election heralded the end of the neoliberal era in Bolivia and the beginning of a different hegemonic development vision in the country. Changing development discourses in Bolivia strongly influenced Swiss-Bolivian development cooperation in the past 40 years. The Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) often changed the thematic focus of its programme after an adaption or a rupture in the existing development discourse. In addition, the SDC also adapted its programme to new trends in international development cooperation. Such new trends were often consolidated after international conferences and under the influence of declarations constituted during such conventions. While development discourses in Bolivia and at the international level had major implications on Swiss development cooperation in Bolivia, changes within the SDC only had minor consequences.

Weder A, Zingerli C. 2010. Changing Development Discourses over 40 Years of Swiss–Bolivian Development Cooperation. NCCR North-South Dialogue 25. Bern, Switzerland: NCCR North-South.


Download Dialogue (PDF 1.8 MB)