Transparency and provenance of international aid

There’s a lot of argument going on in development circles about transparency, the search for details about where aid is coming from and why countries receiving aid give aid. IRIN news has just published a series of posts about aid in Africa which I think you’ll find useful.

Child in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia

Child in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia. By Cate Turton / Department for International Development

The Horn of Africa famine has given focus to a new breed of donors. Traditionally we see USAID, Canada and the EU countries being touted as major donors, but did you realise that Brazil has given ‘US$35.6 million in humanitarian aid 2010, and $4 billion in foreign assistance – equivalent to Sweden or Canada’ or that India contributed $56.5 million in humanitarian aid since 2005? One of the peculiarities of this is that India was a major recipient of aid – ‘it was the eighth-largest ODA recipient in 2008 ($2.1 billion) and fourth overall from 1995-2009′, and similarly China has reported $107 million in humanitarian aid to the UN Financial Tracking Service since 2005, but also is one of the largest Global Fund recipients.   (IRIN NEWS 19 Oct 2011).

Now, China and India have been donating aid for decades, but what has changed is the reporting of this aid to official trackers such as the UN’s Financial Tracking System (127 donors reported aid in 2010). [ ]. One of the things that is emerging is that there are new ‘groupings’ of donor countries developing who operate outside the traditional donor format.

Another growing area of aid influence is the growth of Arab and Muslim aid.  The IRIN article Arab and Muslim aid and the West – “two china elephants” gives a good analysis of this and there are some good links for further information.

Finding out information about these new donors can be difficult and frustration but according to the IRIN report on Piercing together the Chinese aid jigsaw, Sven Grimm has recently published a report (pdf) on the Transparency of Chinese Aid which you might find useful.


Suggested Books

Africa and China are now immersed in their third and most transformative era of heavy engagement, one that promises to do more for economic growth and poverty alleviation than anything attempted by Western colonialism or international aid programs.Robert Rotberg and his Chinese, African, and other colleagues discuss this important trend and specify its likely implications.

Tough questions about aid going awry.

Africa Paper : The Impact of Aid on Education Policy in Kenya Report of the International Conference on African Culture and Development 2009 UNDP Annual Report 2008 Sub-Saharan African and the financial crisis Conference : From Impunity to Accountability – Africa’s Development in the 21st Century, Nov 2010

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