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  • 21 September 2020

Tracking aid flows in light of the Covid-19 crisis

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Overview

This tracker uses a unique real-time data to track and analyse aid commitments in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and bring forth evidence about how aid trends may be changing.

The data is sourced from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Real-time data from IATI is not curated and therefore open to small changes as the data is updated. This could result in changes to aspects of historical transactions as well as movement of transactions from one month to another. This can be due, for example, to adjustments between operations and accounting departments, journal entries to deal with accrual accounting or cumulative reporting over a quarter.

We show comparisons to 2019 and to our expected values for the first seven months of 2020 (based on trends from 2015–2019). The latter allows us to view the impacts of Covid-19 on aid commitments separately from long-term trends. Our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’, contains more detail on our methodology. Additional data will be added each month as donors publish more recent information on their aid commitments.

The data in this tool is updated monthly. It was last updated on 10 September 2020, and shows data for January to July 2020.

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Changes in volumes of aid commitments

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Figure 1: Overall, commitments from key bilateral donors were 24.5% (US$9.3 billion) lower over the first seven months of 2020 compared with 2019

Total commitments reported to IATI by selected bilateral donors

Figure 1: Overall, commitments from key bilateral donors were 24.5% (US$9.3 billion) lower over the first seven months of 2020 compared with 2019

Bar chart showing that overall, commitments from key bilateral donors were lower than expected in the first seven months of 2020

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: The error bars denote the 90% confidence interval for commitment value from the selected bilateral donors in 2020. Where the actual value is outside this range, this is considered a statistically significant change. For the full methodology and list of selected bilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • Bilateral aid commitments reported to IATI by key donors in the first seven months of 2020 (US$28.7 billion) are 10.2% lower than expected.[1]
  • This represents a 24.5% (US$9.3 billion) decrease compared to the same period in 2019 (US$38.1 billion).
  • The updated data includes an increase to June of US$4.2 billion in commitments.
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Figure 2: Overall, commitments from key multilateral donors were 38.0% (US$23.8 billion) higher than in the first seven months of 2020 compared with 2019

Total commitments reported to IATI by selected multilateral donors

Figure 2: Overall, commitments from key multilateral donors were 38.0% (US$23.8 billion) higher than in the first seven months of 2020 compared with 2019

Bar chart showing that overall, commitments from key multilateral donors were 46.0% (US$27.2 billion) higher than expected in the first seven months of 2020

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: The error bars denote the 90% confidence interval for commitment value from the selected multilateral donors in 2020. Where the actual value is outside this range, this is considered a statistically significant change. For the full methodology and list of selected multilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • Multilateral donors have increased their commitments by 38.0% (US$23.8 billion) in the first seven months of 2020 (to a total of US$86.4 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (which totalled US$62.6 billion).
  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that multilateral donors increased their commitments by 46.0% by July 2020, compared with the expected total.[2]
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Changes in aid commitments by sector

Health, water and sanitation, social protection and agriculture are vital sectors for crisis response. They have seen mixed commitment trends in the first seven months of 2020.

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Figure 3: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to health increased by 80.6% (to a total of US$14.0 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Total health commitments reported to IATI by selected bilateral and multilateral donors in the first seven months of 2019 and 2020

Figure 3: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to health increased by 80.6% (to a total of US$14.0 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, commitments to health increased by 80.6% (to a total of US$14.0 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: For the full methodology and list of selected bilateral/multilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • In the first seven months of 2019, bilateral commitments to the health sector stood at US$1.8 billion compared to US$3.3 billion in 2020. In the same period in 2019, multilateral commitments to the health sector stood at US$5.9 billion compared to US$10.7 billion in 2020.
  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that multilateral donors have driven the increases seen in health commitments, consistent with earlier trends.
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Figure 4: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to water and sanitation decreased by 26.3% (to a total of US$3.1 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Total water and sanitation commitments reported to IATI by selected bilateral and multilateral donors in the first seven months of 2019 and 2020

Figure 4: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to water and sanitation decreased by 26.3% (to a total of US$3.1 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, commitments to water and sanitation decreased by 26.3% (to a total of US$3.1 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.2 billion)

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: For the full methodology and list of selected bilateral/multilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • In the first seven months of 2019, bilateral commitments to the water and sanitation sector stood at US$0.7 billion compared to US$0.5 billion in 2020. In the same period in 2019, multilateral commitments to the water and sanitation sector stood at US$3.5 billion compared to US$2.6 billion in 2020.
  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that commitments to water and sanitation from both bilateral and multilateral donors have decreased, consistent with earlier trends.
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Figure 5: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to social protection increased three-fold (to a total of US$9.6 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$3.2 billion)

Total social protection commitments reported to IATI by selected bilateral and multilateral donors in the first seven months of 2019 and 2020

Figure 5: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to social protection increased three-fold (to a total of US$9.6 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$3.2 billion)

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, commitments to social protection increased three-fold (to a total of US$9.6 billion) compared to the same period in 2019 (US$3.2 billion)

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: For the full methodology and list of selected bilateral/multilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • In the first seven months of 2019, bilateral commitments to the social protection sector stood at US$0.2 billion, the same as in 2020. In the same period in 2019, multilateral commitments to the social protection sector stood at US$3.0 billion compared to US$9.3 billion in 2020.
  • These increases from multilateral donors came in the form of large commitment totals in March, April and June 2020 (US$1.4 billion, US$1.7 billion and US$5.2 billion respectively).
  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that the majority of commitments to social protection, which have risen considerably, are from multilateral donors, consistent with earlier trends.
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Figure 6: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to agriculture increased by 22.0% (to a total of US$5.7 billion), compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.7 billion)

Total agriculture commitments reported to IATI by selected bilateral and multilateral donors in the first seven months of 2019 and 2020

Figure 6: In the first seven months of 2020, commitments to agriculture increased by 22.0% (to a total of US$5.7 billion), compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.7 billion)

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, commitments to agriculture increased by 22.0% (to a total of US$5.7 billion), compared to the same period in 2019 (US$4.7 billion)

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: For the full methodology and list of selected bilateral/multilateral donors, see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

  • In the first seven months of 2019, bilateral commitments to the agriculture sector stood at US$1.4 billion compared to US$1.1 billion in 2020. In the same period in 2019 multilateral commitments to the agriculture sector stood at US$3.3 billion compared to US$4.6 billion in 2020. Commitments to agriculture as a percentage of total commitment have fallen slightly in the first seven months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that there has been an increase in commitments to agriculture, largely being driven by increases from multilateral donors.
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Aid commitments by poverty rates in countries

Aid is a vital resource for the poorest countries and people. The following sections consider aid that’s targeted at specific countries. The proportion of aid reported to IATI that is targeted to specific countries has remained fairly constant in the first seven months of 2020 compared to 2019.[3]

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Figure 7: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty remained fairly similar to the same period in 2019 – 40.1% and 36.6% respectively

Percentage of commitments by selected bilateral donors reported to IATI by recipient country extreme poverty rate (US$1.90 per person a day)

Figure 7: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty remained fairly similar to the same period in 2019 – 40.1% and 36.6% respectively

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty remained fairly similar to the same period in 2019 – 40.1% and 36.6% respectively

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI and World Bank PovcalNet.

  • Bilateral donors committed a slightly larger proportion to countries with a poverty rate of more than 40% in the first seven months of 2020 than in 2019. This corresponds to a decrease (US$1.1 billion) in funds committed to those countries in absolute terms.
  • There has been a three-percentage-point decrease in commitments to countries with a poverty rate of 20%–40%, and a one-percentage-point increase in commitments to countries with a poverty rate of 10%–20%.
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Figure 8: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty has remained fairly constant with the same period in 2019 – 25.3% and 21.3% respectively

Percentage of commitments by selected multilateral donors reported to IATI by recipient country extreme poverty rate (US$1.90 per person a day)

Figure 8: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty has remained fairly constant with the same period in 2019 – 25.3% and 21.3% respectively

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to countries with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty has remained fairly constant with the same period in 2019 – 25.3% and 21.3% respectively

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI and World Bank PovcalNet.

  • Multilateral donors committed a slightly larger proportion to countries with a poverty rate of more than 40% in the first seven months of 2020 than in 2019. This corresponds to an increase (US$5.8 billion) in funds committed to those countries in absolute terms.
  • There has been a four-percentage-point decrease in commitments to countries with a poverty rate of less than 1%, and a four-percentage-point increase in commitments to countries with a poverty rate of 5%–10%.
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Aid commitments to least developed countries (LDC)

Least developed countries (LDCs) are low-income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development. They are highly vulnerable to environmental and economic shocks, such as that caused by Covid-19, making aid a vital resource.[4]

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Figure 9: The average proportion of commitments to LDCs by bilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has fallen slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 51.1% to 46.5% of aid

Monthly commitments to LDCs by key bilateral donors reported to IATI as a proportion of total aid commitments targeting specific countries, with an annual trendline, 2015–2020

Figure 9: The average proportion of commitments to LDCs by bilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has fallen slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 51.1% to 46.5% of aid

Bar chart showing that the average proportion of commitments to LDCs by bilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has fallen slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 51.1% to 46.5% of aid

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: The annual trend line is the proportion of commitments to LDCs from August to July.

  • Bilateral donors committed a slightly smaller proportion of their aid to LDCs between August 2019 and July 2020, compared to August 2018 to July 2019. This corresponds to a decrease (US$8.8 billion) in funds committed to LDCs.
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Figure 10: The average proportion of commitments to LDCs by multilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has increased slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 32.8% to 34.3% of aid

Monthly commitments to LDCs by key multilateral donors reported to IATI as a proportion of total aid commitments targeting specific countries, with an annual trendline, 2015–2020

Figure 10: The average proportion of commitments to LDCs by multilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has increased slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 32.8% to 34.3% of aid

Bar chart showing that the average proportion of commitments to LDCs by multilateral donors between August 2019 and July 2020 has increased slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 32.8% to 34.3% of aid

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: The annual trend line is the proportion of commitments to LDCs from August to July.

  • Multilateral donors committed a slightly larger proportion of their aid to LDCs between August 2019 and July 2020, compared to August 2018 to July 2019. This corresponds to an increase (US$9.4 billion) in funds committed to LDCs.
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Aid commitments by country income group

The World Bank classifies countries with a relatively low gross national income, when averaged per person, as being in low- and lower-middle-income groups. Aid is a vital resource for the people who live in those places.[5]

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Figure 11: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to low-income countries has remained fairly constant compared with the same period in 2019 – 48.2% and 50.0% respectively

Percentage of commitments by selected bilateral donors reported to IATI, by recipient country income group

Figure 11: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to low-income countries has remained fairly constant compared with the same period in 2019 – 48.2% and 50.0% respectively

bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of bilateral commitments to low-income countries has remained fairly constant compared with the same period in 2019 – 48.2% and 50.0% respectively

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

  • Bilateral donors committed roughly the same proportion to low-income countries in the first seven months of 2020 and 2019. This corresponds to a decrease (US$2.7 billion) in funds committed to those countries.
  • There has been a four-percentage-point increase in commitments to lower-middle-income countries, and a two-a-percentage-point decrease in commitments to high-income countries.
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Figure 12: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared with the same period in 2019 – 52.3% and to 41.5% respectively

Percentage of commitments by selected multilateral donors reported to IATI, by recipient country income group

Figure 12: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared with the same period in 2019 – 52.3% and to 41.5% respectively

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of multilateral commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared with the same period in 2019 – 52.3% and to 41.5% respectively

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that while multilateral donors commit lower proportions of aid to low-income countries compared with bilateral donors, this proportion has fallen lower in 2020. There has been a four-percentage-point decrease in commitments to low-income countries, and a ten-percentage-point decrease in commitments to upper-middle-income countries.
  • Conversely, they are now committing over half of their aid (53.1%) to lower-middle-income countries, up from 40.7% in the first seven months of 2019.
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Figure 13: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of international finance institution (IFI) commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared to the same period in 2019 – 57.5% and 45.8% respectively

Percentage of commitments by selected IFIs reported to IATI, by recipient country income group

Figure 13: In the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of international finance institution (IFI) commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared to the same period in 2019 – 57.5% and 45.8% respectively

Bar chart showing that in the first seven months of 2020, the percentage of international finance institution (IFI) commitments to lower-middle-income countries has increased, compared to the same period in 2019 – 57.5% and 45.8% respectively

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

  • Analysis on the updated data up to July 2020 shows that, compared to 2019, IFIs increased the proportion of aid committed to lower-middle-income countries, while decreasing the proportion committed to upper-middle-income countries.
  • There has been a twelve-percentage-point decrease in commitments to upper-middle-income countries.
  • Most of the commitments from IFIs (including those to lower-middle- and upper-middle-income countries) are in the form of loans.

Please note, an update was made to Figure 9 and Figure 10 on 24 September 2020.

Notes

  • 1

    For more on how our expected totals are calculated, please see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

    Return to source text
  • 2

    For more on how our expected totals are calculated, please see our factsheet ‘How are aid budgets changing due to the Covid-19 crisis?’

    Return to source text
  • 3

    During the first seven months of 2020, the proportion of aid that targeted a specific country was 84.2%. In the first six months of 2019 the proportion was 79.6%.

    Return to source text