The author has spent close to ten years as advisor to planning organisations in four developing countries: Pakistan, Kenya, the Sudan and Bangladesh. He raises the question whether the work of the advisory teams resulted in lasting improvements on the performance of these organisations. There is no doubt that the professional competence was improved while the team was there, also due to better performance by the counterpart staff. But very frequently successfully trained counterparts move to other organisations, or abroad, and this seriously weakened the impact. On the other hand an increased supply of well educated nationals has contributed to improves performance. But support to institution development cannot be expected to have strong short term effects as long as there is scarcity of well qualified national personnel.

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