Policy Innovations / Donor aid

Donor aid

By pumping money into development efforts without a clear accountability mechanism as a part of such programs, these efforts are often as good as putting money down the drain.

Nuhu Ribadu, Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria

A lack of transparency and accountability in the international aid system causes poor quality aid that is inefficient, ineffective and disempowers recipients.

As aid volumes grow, there has been increasing attention to improving transparency and accountability to make aid more effective. Currently, many donors are good at making information about their spending available, but have done less to make it accessible. Few examples exist where spending information is provided in a digestible format which can be easily used by MPs, the media and civil society to demand change and hold decision makers to account.

With international donors under pressure to be more open, new initiatives have emerged to make aid policy and practice more accountable. For example, over 50 recipient countries have set up Aid Information Management Systems to collect and analyse data on aid flows. A number of donors, recipient governments and non-governmental organisations have also launched the International Aid Transparency Initiative to push forward transparency commitments made at the 2008 High Level Forum in Accra.

Improving access to information

The Transparency and Accountability Initiative aims to improve the impact of this kind of work by examining progress and proposing ways to fill gaps in both the supply of and demand for information on international aid flows.

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Our research examines how transparency can be promoted between donors and:

  1. Citizens or funders in the countries where funds are raised
  2. Recipient governments and other institutions receiving aid in countries where they work
  3. Citizens and stakeholders in countries where they work

Donor aid cuts across some of our other areas of research by the Policy innovation working group which includes budgets, climate change, financial reformnatural resources and the open government partnership.

Our research includes two other work areas:

  • Read about the Impact and Learning working group and how it reviews the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives worldwide.
  • Read about the New Technologies working group and how it stimulates and advances the wider use of new technologies in the transparency and accountability field