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The term ‘country ownership’ refers to a property of the conditionality attached to programmes, processes, plans, or strategies involving both a ‘domestic’ party (generally a nation state) and a foreign party (generally the IMF, the World Bank, the Regional Development Banks, and other multilateral and bilateral institutions). Under what circumstances and how can the concept of country ownership be relevant to a country with a myriad heterogeneous and often conflicting views and interests? Or to a country whose government’s representational legitimacy or democratic credentials are in question? The author argues that the term has been abused to such an extent that it is at best unhelpful and at worst pernicious: a term whose time has gone.

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