WASHINGTON, D.C. – American foreign assistance is on a slow path to becoming transparent, but most aid information is still not published.

Publish What You Fund’s 2012 Aid Transparency ranks 72 global aid organisations, from traditional multilateral and bilateral donors, to climate finance and development finance institutions. It specifically examines five U.S. agencies – USAID, Department of State, Department of Defense (DOD), Treasury, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – and one program, PEPFAR.

The top performer was the MCC, which ranked 9th out of a total of 72 donors analyzed in the Index.  The DOD received the lowest ranking among the U.S. agencies, in 56th place.  Other rankings include: USAID (27th), PEPFAR (29th), Treasury (34th), and State (46th).

A U.S. Report Card based on the findings of the Index will be presented today in Washington, D.C., at an event co-hosted with ONE.

The U.S. was slightly above average compared to all donors surveyed, but performed relatively poorly against other very large donors, such as the World Bank and the European Commission.

The report urges all donors to sign and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which offers a global common standard for publishing aid information. Foreign assistance published to this standard is shared openly in a timely, comprehensive, comparable and accessible way.

David Hall-Matthews, Director of Publish What You Fund, said:

“As the world’s largest and arguably most influential donor, the U.S. plays a critical role in increasing transparency in foreign assistance. Its decision to sign on to IATI last year was significant – but now it is time to implement.

“The U.S. has the chance to be a leader in aid transparency. The benefits are enormous – better decision making by both donors and recipients, identification of waste or misuse of precious aid, reduction in reporting costs and efforts, and increased coordination and accountability.”

Produced annually, the Index finds that aid transparency is on the rise globally but continues to fall short of best practice. This is particularly disappointing at a time when transparency is critical to ensuring confidence in government spending.

Globally, the UK Department for International Development and the World Bank became the first two organizations ever to receive a ‘good’ rating. Conversely, the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ groups still contain nearly half of all organizations surveyed – including some of the world’s most prominent donors, such as France.

Although there was a wide disparity in performance among the U.S. institutions, some made significant jumps in their scores when compared to 2011. Treasury posted the fifth highest increase of all agencies in the 2012 Index (18 percentage points), while PEPFAR, USAID, MCC and Defense all ranked among the 15 biggest overall improvers in the 2012 Index.


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Contact:          Nicole Valentinuzzi  (202) 674-0364 / +44 7726 831 197


  1. Publish What You Fund is the global campaign for aid transparency, advocating for a significant increase in the availability and accessibility of comprehensive, timely and comparable aid information. The organisation monitors the transparency of aid donors in order to track progress, encourage further transparency and hold them to account.
  2. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has 33 signatory donors committed to publishing to its common standard. These donors account for over 75% of Official Development Finance (ODF).