Did you see our recent blog on the last ten years of the aid transparency movement? Owen Barder of the Center for Global Development and our CEO Gary Forster present the fascinating story of how the original vision for aid transparency emerged and grew, featuring some of the inspiring characters involved along the way.
Which brings us nicely to the present day.
Aid and development transparency has come a long way in ten years, but there is still a long way to go if data is to be truly transformative and used as an essential tool to effect lasting and significant development outcomes.
So this week we are launching our ambitious new strategy, marking the next chapter in our development. We will focus on three key strategic areas:
- Ensuring that data is used to contribute to improved development outcomes and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Making all aid and development finance data transparent and available.
- Strengthening and extending our research, advocacy and technical expertise to improve the usability of aid and development finance information.
Our Chair Giles Bolton has co-authored a blog with Gary Forster on our new strategic direction and how we will respond to the challenges currently facing the movement. Read the blog to find out more about what the strategy means in practice.
You may have followed our coverage of the ‘duelling dashboards’ issue – for several years US foreign assistance data has been published on two official US government websites: ForeignAssistance.gov and Foreign Aid Explorer. These two official US government sources provide duplicative, contradictory, and incomplete data to varying degrees. But there have been some interesting recent developments.
We have been working with the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) to assess the functionality of both platforms. You can read more about our research and conclusions for one consolidated platform in a new blog from Sally Paxton and George Ingram of the Brookings Institution.
China has repeatedly come under fire for its aid and development practices. “Negative impact”, “roll[ing] back transparency” and “unsustainable debt” are some of the terms used to describe Chinese foreign assistance by Jim Richardson, coordinator of USAID’s Transformation Task Team. He is not alone in his criticism. Ray Washbourne, President and CEO of OPIC, suggested that China is over-building and over-loaning, saddling developing nations with unnecessary debt. However, perhaps it was the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who has been the most blunt in his appraisal: “a new version of colonialism”.