Investing in transparency for better project results

Guest post by Philippe de Fontaine Vive, European Investment Bank

We are all witnessing the ever growing demand for more transparency and information about the activities and impacts of governments and public institutions. This trend is supported by new opportunities based on technology and tools that make it easier to access, analyse and share information and data. And therein lies great potential to achieve global objectives such as making aid and development finance more efficient, accountable and, ultimately, increasing its impact on the ground.

Within this context, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is key in bringing about more transparency in aid and development finance flows, based on a common standard. We at the European Investment Bank (EIB), the largest multi-lateral lender, have decided to support and join this initiative. We are now working with the IATI Secretariat to set in place the necessary systems and procedures to implement the IATI reporting standard.

The EIB is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and a significant part of our activities take place in developing countries.

Unlike the majority of signatories to IATI, we do not provide grants, but loans and investments for projects that support, for example, private sector development, climate action and key infrastructure – the building blocks for inclusive and sustainable growth in countries. We also implement a major share of our activities with clients from the private sector, e.g. local banks in developing countries that finance small-and-medium-sized enterprises. Our business model is therefore naturally different from that of a donor agency. But we nonetheless think that institutions like the EIB, as a provider of development finance, play a crucial role in international development, and we would like to add to the tremendous results that have been achieved already.

Signing up to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) will also reinforce a series of other steps that we are taking to continuously improve our transparency and the impact of our operations. Our Transparency Policy, for instance, commits us to the highest transparency standards in our day-to-day work and we are currently setting up a public register of documents. We have also implemented a new system that aims at better assessing and measuring the results of our operations.

Transparency alone will not lead to better results or higher impact immediately. It will not guarantee us more economic growth, more efficient use of scarce resources or achievement of all of the objectives enshrined in the aid effectiveness agenda. But without transparency, it is extremely difficult to imagine, or indeed know, that we arrive at any of these targets. We see it as an important condition that pays off in the long-run through a more informed dialogue and better insights in the results of our projects.

thumbPhilippe de Fontaine Vive is Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. His responsibilities include transparency and relations to civil society. 

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