Driving transparency for better development results
In November 2019, Publish What You Fund embarked on a new initiative aimed at working collaboratively with Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and other stakeholders to increase the transparency of DFIs. Through this 2 ½ year project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are looking at the use of public money by DFIs to meet global development goals. As more and more development aid is channelled through private institutions, we are using an evidenced-based, multi-stakeholder approach to advocate for greater transparency and accountability of DFIs.
The scale of DFI finance is significant and growing. The annual non-sovereign, private development investments by multilateral and bilateral DFIs has grown from $12 billion in 2000 to $87 billion in 2017– a six fold increase. However, despite their rising prominence, very few DFIs share information on their private sector portfolios. This makes it both difficult to assess their development impact and to learn from different projects and approaches.
Greater transparency can start to lay the foundation for more informed decision making, more accountability and better allocation of resources, including information to assess the development impact of and learnings from DFI investments.
We are adopting a collaborative approach, and with guidance from a multi-stakeholder project advisory board, have identified five priority issues that form the basis for the project’s work. More details of these work streams, along with our objectives and methodology, are given below.
 We use the term DFI to include International Financial Institutions (IFIs), bilateral and multilateral development banks which have either solely public sector investment portfolios, private sector investment portfolios, or a mix of the two. We recognise that there are diverse definitions for what constitutes a DFI, and that the inherent differences in terms of governance and structure are important. For the purposes of this work we are seeking to include organisations which invest public money and which have developmental impact, poverty alleviation and/or contribution towards the SDGs as part of their core objectives. Understandably we will endeavour to focus our efforts on those organisations which are seen as leaders and norm setters within the DFI community.