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Michelle du Toit

Assisting Africa: A critical analysis of technical assistance in low carbon development practice

The project investigates technical assistance in low carbon development through a consideration of decolonial and development theory, while bringing to the fore perceptions of African climate change-mitigation professionals. It provides a critical analysis of tacit assumptions legitimated within technical assistance practice in climate change mitigation and finds that current modes of technical assistance practice within low carbon development continue to entrench the hegemonic nature of knowledge of the global North, perpetuating the placement of Africa in a position of extraversion towards the North, assuming African government and climate change practitioners as lacking in knowledge and expertise. The study advocates for a more equal and bilateral flow of knowledge between the two regions in order for African nations to faster and more effectively reach the twin goals of development and mitigation within Africa. 

Michelle is a Programme Manager at SouthSouthNorth, a climate change NGO based in Cape Town. She currently coordinates the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, a southern-led knowledge-brokering programme operating within Asia, Latin America and Africa. Michelle’s research interest lies in the ways in which hegemonic practices are perpetuated within technical assistance practice in low carbon development.