Editor’s Note: June 22, 2018
Should we care about aid transparency?
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is the world’s most honest development agency. This is according to the 2018 Aid Transparency Index, released on Thursday.
It’s the first time the ADB has topped the list, which uses 35 indicators to assess how open the world’s top 45 development agencies are about their aid. Encouragingly the African Development Bank ranks 4th, with China’s Ministry of Commerce at the bottom of the table.
Interesting, but what does this tell us?
While there are obvious benefits to tracking aid disbursements, including better donor coordination and awareness, the index feels a bit out of step.
Development assistance has generally fallen out of favour in recent years – in Africa the focus is very much on trade before aid these days. Aid to the continent from official donors stood at $29bn last year, compared to $42bn in foreign direct investment.
It’s also not obvious that less transparency is necessarily a bad sign. Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs and its development agency Jica, well established donors, are ranked in the bottom 10. Even the World Bank is in the lower half.
The index doesn’t do any harm, but it’s also not obvious why the world should care about aid transparency.
From The Continent
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FAO in Africa @FAOAfrica: News and updates from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Africa office.