The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) enables donors to report on their activities in more detail than ever before. DI analysis shows that these more detailed data changes our understanding of how aid is invested.
These new data complement project data reported to the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS). The more granular data for DFID aid to Bangladesh in 2012 suggest more went to health, education and water & sanitation than previously thought.
IATI data show that investments in the education and health sectors are significantly higher than previously thought: £15 million and £8 million respectively. Water & sanitation spending was also £5 million higher. These three sectors combined account for 45% of IATI-reported aid, compared with just 26% based on the CRS. Some 22% of DFID’s aid to goes education (12% in the CRS). IATI also shows £3.5 million of aid (2%) to the industry & trade sector (close to zero in the CRS).
The share of aid reported as ‘other’ is almost halved in IATI: to 25% from 44% in the CRS. Within this category, aid to rural development was half of that in the CRS. Governance & Security aid 12% (compared with 15% in the CRS).
Why are the figures so different? IATI allows much more detailed reporting by sector, breaking projects into much smaller parts. In the CRS projects are reported under a single sector. Large projects – often with multiple sub-sectors – are reported under the largest category. As this can be less than half of the total project value it in effect over-reports aid to those sectors. For Bangladesh, the largest project was a £50.1 million rural development project. This has four parts in IATI: £20 million (40%) for rural development, £16 million (32%) for primary education, and £8 million (15%) going to both health care and water supply & sanitation.
This has major implications for understanding the aid landscape, particularly considering that the UK accounts for 29% of all DAC country member spending on health and 21% of spending on education in Bangladesh (based on the CRS).
Sectors based on Development Initiatives’ Investments to End Poverty report (2013). Included under ‘other’ are infrastructure and humanitarian aid, which both received less than £1 million in 2012 (there was no general budget support nor debt relief).
* CRS project ID 201286-103.