Original Research

Efficiency of international cooperation schemata in African countries: A comparative analysis using a data envelopment analysis approach

Victor Martin-Perez, Natalia Martin-Cruz
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 20, No 1 | a1401 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v20i1.1401 | © 2017 Victor Martin-Perez, Natalia Martin-Cruz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 May 2015 | Published: 28 February 2017

About the author(s)

Victor Martin-Perez, Department of Business and Marketing, Business School, University of Valladolid, Spain
Natalia Martin-Cruz, Department of Business and Marketing, Business School, University of Valladolid, Spain

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Background: Efficiency measurement by means of data envelopment analysis (DEA) in the non-profit sector has focused on the so-called Stage I of non-profit organisations, namely, fundraising efforts (which are the most influential determinants of raising funds in order to increase the amount of contributions). However, for the so-called Stage II of non-profit organisations, namely, spending the achieved resources to program services delivery, DEA studies are very scarce. In attempting to address this research gap and to the best of our knowledge, this investigation is the first study that applies DEA to the assessment of international cooperation schemata. Consequently, we offer a significant contribution to the literature by overcoming the limitations of other techniques used to assess the efficiency and providing new insight into the efficiency of targeted different international cooperation schemata (ICS) in international cooperation development projects.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to evaluate and compare the efficiency of the ICS of developmental projects funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development.

Setting: Our setting is composed of different international cooperation projects funded with different schemata by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development between 2002 and 2006 in two African countries that are top priority targets of Spanish international aid: Morocco, and Mozambique.

Methods: Using a sample of 48 international cooperation projects carried out in two African countries considered priorities in the Spanish Cooperation Master Plan, we analyse project efficiency using DEA.

Results: The findings suggest that some schemata are more efficient than others when applied to international cooperation projects (ICS). Specifically, we find that permanent open-call subsidies are more efficient than non-governmental development organisation subsidies.

Conclusion: Measures for evaluating international aid projects with respect to efficiency are problematic. The DEA method provides an ex-post meausure of efficiency that allows for the measurement in a specific and objetive way of the results achieved by each project and to propose corrective actions for the future. The comparison among ICS provides an opportunity to identify the conditions under which an ICs may achieve greater efficiency


international cooperation projects; international cooperation schemata; African countries; data envelopment analysis; efficiency; nongovernmental development organizations


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