Development aid has long been a major policy tool of the discourse and policy practiceof bilateral and multilateral donors alike. Originally used for servicing the reconstructionof post-war economies and the wider geo-political aspirations of the period, moderndevelopment aid was quickly transformed to an ever-growing industry which hasexpanded to the most remote locations of the globe. Large countries and internationalorganisations swiftly set up a variety of specialised agencies, institutes and researchcentres in order to promote their aid programmes and projects to the poor countries ofthe South. The persistent failure of the development industry to achieve substantialresults in the poorest regions of the world has meant that discourse and priority areashave been redirected multiple times according to the trends of every period. However, itis not clear how far development practice actually alters in correspondence with changesin aid discourse. This dissertation provides an empirical study of the relationshipbetween the two in the context of the move to bottom-up 'partnership' discourse andJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) development practise in Ghana.During the last ten years Ghana has geared its development policies towards achievingthe Millennium Development Goals and entering the group of countries classified ashaving (lower) middle-income status. Major donor agencies like JICA have gathered inthe country to provide their 'expertise' and to 'assist' Ghana in reaching the targets ofthe Millennium Declaration. Drawing from two JICA case studies of TechnicalCooperation for Capacity Development in Ghana in health and education this thesissheds light on the differences between JICA's aid rhetoric and practice. This studyargues that despite JICA's aid discourse for a 'demand-driven', 'relevant' and'participatory' aid understanding, its implementation practice contradicts the substantivenormative meanings of these terms and is instead reticent of the past orthodox and 'topdown'aid practices of big donor countries and organisations.