Publish What You Fund has conducted the Aid Transparency Index for 10 years. Over this period, seven multilateral development finance institutions (DFIs) have been included in the Aid Transparency Index. While some DFIs have performed well, particularly in terms of their sovereign operations, they have raised the issue that their business models are markedly different from “traditional” aid agencies and as such they struggle to meet some of the transparency criteria set out in the index. In particular, the non-sovereign operations of DFIs differ substantially from “traditional” aid operations. As such, we identified the need for a product that is more tailored to assessing the transparency of their business models.
One key difference between the Aid Transparency Index and the DFI Transparency Index is the extent to which they assess the quality of publication in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard. The Aid Transparency Index is significantly focused on publication in the IATI Standard, as this is accepted as the global standard for aid data. Recognising that there are elements of IATI publication that are not relevant to DFIs, and that there are important aspects of DFI activity that cannot currently be published to the IATI Standard, we have adopted a more nuanced approach to assessing DFI transparency. Where possible, the indicators of the DFI Transparency Index are aligned to the IATI Standard and publication to the Standard is incentivised. However, we include numerous indicators that do not specify publication to the Standard.
We recognise that for DFIs included in both the Aid Transparency Index and the DFI Transparency Index the current arrangement may not seem ideal. We have sought to reduce the burden of this arrangement by aligning the indexes to the greatest degree possible, while retaining their individual significance and the logics behind their use. We will continue to assess the relationship between the two indexes over 2022.