Overseas aid transparency ‘needs further improvement’

20 Jun 18

Global aid transparency has improved but donors still need to make it easier to follow overseas assistance, a global index has warned.

Half of the 45 donors assessed now publish their information on a monthly basis, compared to just 25% in 2016, the Aid Transparency Index by campaign organisation Publish What You Fund found.

Yet, basic pieces of information are still not available, and more than a quarter of organisation do not provide descriptions of their projects – or if they do, they cannot be understood by non-experts, the fund said.

The index ranked 45 donor organisations from around the world, who spend more than $1bn in aid a year, evaluating how easy they make it to track the foreign assistance they provide.

Catherine Turner, acting CEO of Publish What You Fund, said the findings were “promising” but there is still work to be done.  

“What we want to see now is donors across the board doing a much better job at showing their impact.

“Only 15 of the organisations we looked at publish results information on their current projects. This makes it very difficult for watchdogs, partner country governments and donors themselves to understand what is working and if the promised results are being achieved.”

The Asian Development Bank topped the rankings for the first time, with seven other development finance institutions rated ‘very good’.

These include the United Nations Development Programme, the UK’s Department for International Development and the African Development Bank.

Ranked at the bottom in the ‘very poor’ category were Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

The UK’s Foreign Office was ranked ‘poor’ and not-profit organisations have called for the government to improve transparency of where aid money is spent outside DfID.

The World Bank’s International Development Association was ranked sixth, while the Inter-American Development Bank was seventh.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was 24th and the European Investment Bank 25th.

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