In this paper it is suggested that the present modalities for North-South cooperation, and especially the current structural adjustment programmes being unilaterally imposed on developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, should be replaced by a set of "development contracts". These would represent a more balanced relationship and should be based on mutual benefits and involve long-term binding obligations from both sides. The paper outlines the possible basis for such mutual benefits, makes suggestions regarding the obligations of the developing countries of Africa and of the developed countries of the North, and discusses the problems of compliance incentives, various legal forms, and options for an international institutional framework