New DRI Paper criticises aid agencies’ use of rhetoric

A paper released by the Development Research Institute (DRI) this week has criticised aid donors for not delivering on promises and commitments surrounding aid effectiveness, and for showing little or no sign of improvement. Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency Practices, written by William Easterly and Claudia Williamson, states that donors use increasingly strong rhetoric which is not reflected in practice.

The study graded and ranked donors against ‘best practice’ criteria. These criteria are explained in detail in the paper and are summarised on the Aid Watch Blog. The highest graded bilateral agency is the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), whilst Japan, New Zealand and Germany also score highly. The US ranks below average, as do UN agencies, which perform particularly badly on aid transparency.

Although Williamson and Easterly condemn the lack of reality behind the rhetoric, the paper does note that there have been slight improvements in aid transparency. Whilst this is welcome news, general levels of aid transparency remain unacceptably low. Publish What You Fund hopes that aid transparency continues to increase globally, keeping donors true to their word.

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