News Roundup – UK Aid Transparency Plus Blended Finance Mobilisation, EU Development Finance and Location-Specific Data
How transparent is UK aid?
The UK Government is disbursing an increasing proportion of official development assistance (ODA) through a spread of government departments. It has committed to improve aid transparency of ODA-spending departments by 2020. It is aiming for scores of “good” or “very good” in our Aid Transparency Index. While the Department for International Development (DFID) is a leader in aid transparency and scored ‘very good’ in the 2018 Index, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office only managed ‘poor’.
So there are challenges ahead for many of the ODA-spending departments and cross-governmental funds if they are to meet the 2020 transparency commitments.
In a new blog, Alex Tilley sets out how Publish What You Fund is monitoring and supporting the improvement of aid transparency across the UK Government. He explores why organisational change and high-level political buy-in are needed.
Here’s what else we’ve been looking at this week…
A new report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) concludes that expectations that blended finance can bridge the SDG financing gap are unrealistic: ‘billions-to-billions’ is more plausible than ‘billions to trillions’. The research also finds that the big push on blended finance risks undermining the poverty eradication agenda in the poorest countries. It also calls for multilateral development banks and development finance institutions to collectively adopt a more distinct and tailored approach to blended finance in low-income countries.
Sixty investors, who collectively manage more than $350 billion in assets, have adopted the International Finance Corporation’s principles on impact investing. The nine principles are designed to bring greater transparency, credibility, and discipline to the impact investing market.
Oxfam has released a new paper which identifies ten principles that are crucial to ensuring that aid rises to the challenge of tackling extreme poverty and inequality. It asks donors to act quickly to ensure the SDGs have a chance of success.
The European Union has asked nine economists to suggest changes to the EU’s development financing structure. The “High-Level Group of Wise Persons” will set out the challenges to and opportunities for rationalising European development finance, and what best delivers development impact- with a focus on the European Investment Bank, European Commission, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
A new report from AidData suggests the provision of location-specific data to public officials can improve resource allocation and service delivery outcomes, especially when the information that public officials receive is legible, actionable, and inclusive of aid flows and population needs.
The European Commission has launched EU Aid Explorer, an online portal to provide public access to information about EU aid programmes. The portal includes information published to IATI and OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 2007 from major donors such as the European Commission, the EU Trust Funds, the European Investment Bank and all 28 EU Member States.
In a new collaboration case note, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative describes its efforts to understand how data is used to fight corruption in Nigeria, barriers faced by different actors and how best to support them.
Other new ODI research has examined the transition of countries moving away from development aid to middle-income status. It highlights that this is not a linear path and calls for governments and donors to manage transitions away from aid. The research finds that transition to lower middle-income status means that the terms and conditions of international public finance usually worsen (such as a gradual shift to loans and loans becoming more expensive).