Publish What You Fund releases 2022 Aid Transparency Index

Publish What You Fund released its 2022 Aid Transparency Index, which measures the transparency of key bilateral and multilateral international development organizations. Overall, the project found that donors maintained transparency near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels; 31 of the 50 evaluated organizations scored in the ‘good’ or ‘very good’ categories, meaning they consistently publish high-quality data on development assistance disbursements. 50 donors were evaluated out of 100 points and ranked accordingly.  

Australia: The index showed that Australia's ODA transparency has continued to deteriorate. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) ranked 41 of the 50 donor organizations, a continuance of their declining trend. The agency remained in the ‘fair’ category but lost 10 points on the transparency index. DFAT was 34 of 47 in 2020 and 23 of 45 in 2018. This decline in transparency occurred under the previous Australian government. The recently elected Labor government has committed to improving accountability and transparency in the development sector. 

Canada: Global Affairs Canada (GAC) dropped from the ‘very good’ category in 2020 to ‘good’ in 2022, losing nearly 10 points in Publish What You Fund’s ranking system and ranking 17th overall in 2022, showing a concerning decrease in transparency amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  

EU: The report evaluated the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), European Investment Bank (EIB), Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA; formerly DEVCO).  

The European Commission’s (EC) ECHO scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 13th among evaluated donors, improving by nearly nine points compared to the 2020 index. The EC’s INTPA scored 15th among evaluated donors and ranked in the ‘good’ category, but declined by 4 points in transparency from 2020. The EBRD’s sovereign portfolio ranked 24th among donors and scored in the ‘good’ category, declining by 3 points since 2020. The non-sovereign portfolio was also placed in the ‘good' category, but ranked 31st among donors. The EC’s NEAR ranked in the ‘good’ category, as it did in 2020, but declined significantly in transparency, dropping nearly 15 points. The EIB’s sovereign portfolio ranked 33rd among donors and remained in the ‘fair’ category, as it was in 2020; the portfolio also lost 3 points in transparency compared to 2020. The EIB’s non-sovereign portfolio also stood in the ‘fair’ category, ranking 37th among donors.  

France: The French Development Agency (AFD) ranked 28th among donors and sat in the ‘good’ category. The agency improved by five points compared to 2020 and jumped up from ‘fair.’  

Germany: Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 11th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office (FFO), on the other hand, ranked 43rd among donors with only 37 of 100 transparency points. 

Italy: The Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) has gradually improved its performance since 2017. In 2020, AICS was placed in the ‘fair’ category, but the agency improved by 5 points, ranking 34th overall in 2022.   

Japan: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dropped the most out of the evaluated agencies – by 26 points – sliding from ‘fair’ to ‘poor’ in 2022 and ranking just 47th out of 50 donors evaluated.  

Netherlands: The Netherlands’ Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) declined by 4 points from 2020, but remained in the ‘good’ category, ranking 23rd overall.  

Norway: Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) dropped from ‘fair’ in 2020 to ‘poor’ in 2022, losing seven points.  

South Korea: South Korea’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 14th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. 

Spain: The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) ranked 42nd among donors, losing nearly 17 points since 2020 and remaining in the ‘fair’ category.  

Sweden: The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) ranked 21st among donors, improving by 4 points since 2022 and sitting in the ‘good’ category. 

United Kingdom: The report found the transparency of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has declined.  According to the index’s ranking, the FCDO fell from 9th place in 2020 to 16th in 2022; no UK agency scored in the 'very good' category for the first time since the Index was launched in 2012. The FCDO and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) sat in the ‘good’ category. The FCDO has underperformed compared to the former Department for International Development (2020) across all five Index components; this is largely the result of a lack of organizational and country strategies and inconsistent release of results, evaluations, and objectives.

United States: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ranked 25th among donors and was placed in the ‘good’ category; however, the agency lost nearly 12 points and declined significantly in transparency since 2020. The US State Department ranked 32nd among donors, losing 5 points since 2020 and dropping out of the ‘good’ category to ‘fair.’  

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US government agency, scored in the ‘very good’ category and ranked 5th among donors. The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) jumped from ‘fair’ to ‘good’ in 2022, improving by nearly 9 points and ranking 20th among donors.  

Recommendations for all donors included:  

  • Publishing more project budgets to facilitate planning and coordination;  
  • Implementing government entity references and developing referencing approaches for the private sector to track assistance flows;  
  • For Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), improving non-sovereign portfolio data;  
  • Publishing comprehensive data on project impact metrics; and 
  • Publishing budget documents, project procurement information, and impact appraisals.  

Report - Publish What You Fund 

News article – BOND  

News article - The Telegraph 

News article - National Tribune