Last week The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) published a work plan which outlines its intended activities over the next three years. ICAI is the independent body responsible for the scrutiny of UK aid, focussing on delivery of value for money and maximising impact for recipients.
The Commission decided which programmes to focus on using proposals from a range of sources, including a public consultation, allowing the public to have its say on which areas of aid ICAI should scrutinise. Core development sectors such as health and education were identified as key areas of interest, whilst Africa and Afghanistan were proposed as the geographical areas requiring the most attention. A lack of aid transparency emerged as a major concern, with emphasis placed on the problems of corruption and fraud and on the role that greater transparency can play in combating these issues.
Increased aid transparency does not only act as an antidote to fraud and corruption, but should be a central concern to any aid impact assessment as a whole: a lack of transparency makes the task of reviewing and evaluating aid streams difficult. The UK’s largest donor agency, DFID, is making strong efforts to be transparent, but greater aid transparency is needed across the board to ensure that the ICAI review functions effectively.