The UK’s 2015 National Aid Strategy committed all departments to be “Very Good” or “Good” on Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index (“the Index”). We look at a leading indicator of transparency and conclude that, beyond DFID, progress has been almost non-existent. With a spending review to set budgets to 2022 expected next year, departments should take the last chance to step-up their performance and HM Treasury should not renew their spending if they don’t.
CGD Policy Blogs
Donors have lost their focus on aid effectiveness in the last decade, limiting aid’s impact. Aid effectiveness still matters enormously to the world’s poor; donors should revisit effective aid principles and agree measures which take better account of today’s challenges and context.
Donors are considering a proposal for a new “innovative finance mechanism” to increase funding for education, based on recommendations from Gordon Brown’s Education Commission. We agree that we need to finance an expansion of education in the developing world. But sadly, the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) proposal is too good to be true. Using donor guarantees to increase lending by multilateral banks could increase the supply of loans—but there are simpler ways to do that without setting up a new facility.
Aid and development transparency has come a long way in ten years. In this, the first of a two-part blog series, we look back at the origins of the aid transparency movement. We reflect on the original vision of those who conceived the idea, and the journey to date including some of the successes achieved along the way.
Today, we published the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) 2018, which ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on how well their policies help the more than five billion people living in poorer countries. European countries dominate this year’s CDI, occupying the top 12 positions in the Index and with Sweden claiming the #1 spot. Here, we look at what these countries are doing particularly well in the past year to support the world’s poor, and where European leaders can still learn from others.
Today, USAID took a big step forward on a new effort that could make a real difference to the agency’s impact and cost-effectiveness.
The UK Parliament published its review of UK ODA earlier this week. The report is clear that some departments have spent aid badly and recommends the Secretary of State for International Development should “have ultimate responsibility for ODA spent across Government.” I propose that, in the spending review next year, the Development Secretary and HM Treasury should lead a new process for allocating ODA across Government.
Some development fundamentalists think that aid should never be spent directly in the national interest. At the other extreme, some people—apparently including the UK Treasury—believe all development cooperation should be directly win-win. Both these polar opposites are dangerously wrong: the truth is in-between.
While donor countries have poured significant resources into branding aid—emblazing a donor’s flag or aid agency logo on everything from food aid to bridges—the benefits of branding are iffy at best and counterproductive at worst. Studies of its impact tend to pay little attention to how branding affects the relationship between recipient governments and their publics, but evidence shows that it can have corrosive systemic impacts.
What I Want to Hear from the UK Development Secretary: How to Improve Whole-of-Government Aid Spending
Successive governments have long felt that UK Department for International Development (DFID) needs to work better with the rest of Whitehall. There have been efforts to join up better in government, sometimes successfully, but there remains a feeling in Whitehall that DFID is too tribal, too protective of its budget, and unwilling to roll up its sleeves to contribute to the government’s wider priorities including security, economic opportunities, and influence.