AidData, in partnership with the World Bank Institute, launched the Mapping for Results (M4R) program in 2010 as part of the Bank’s Policy on Access to Information. The program visualizes the location of World Bank projects in order to: 1) better monitor impact; 2) improve aid coordination and effectiveness; 3) enhance transparency and social accountability; and 4) enable citizen and stakeholder feedback on project results. For the World Bank’s Fall 2011 annual meetings, an updated platform was launched containing over 2,500 projects in more than 30,000 sub-national locations across 144 countries.
The image above from the maps.worldbank.org platform shows a combination of geographic and graphical information on the World Bank’s activities in Nigeria.
The analysis below demonstrates how this kind of geographical information, coupled with sub-national socioeconomic information, can be used to ask questions about aid allocation:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) illustrates how a country’s conflict history can affect the distribution of current aid projects. According to Uppsala University’s Conflict Data Program
, five separate conflicts have erupted in the DRC since its gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. Peace did not prevail until 2003; the country held its first democratic elections in 2006. Interestingly for this analysis, violence has been largely concentrated in the mid-eastern and south-eastern regions. The map below reflects the destabilizing effects of the DRC’s long history of conflict:
World Bank projects have been located predominantly in the north-western region and near the capital city of Kinshasa. Bank staff likely found it easier to implement projects in the more stable west and north than in the conflict-prone eastern territories. The few Bank projects located in the east prove especially interesting. First, the Bank targeted no education projects to the conflict-prone Kivu, Katanga, or Ituri regions of the DRC. This pattern prevailed despite the likelihood that education lowers the risk of conflict onset. While few agricultural, energy, or water supply projects went to the Kivu regions, many health and transportation-related projects did locate there. In fact, health appears the overwhelming focus of the World Bank in DRC, while the transportation projects largely target the borders with Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi. This suggests that the World Bank’s country strategy in DRC seeks to improve the health of the general population while providing greater regional integration to facilitate trade.
While maps do not provide any definitive answers about the determinants of socioeconomic outcomes, or the "right" way to allocate aid, they offer a powerful way for stakeholders to identify key issues and ask important questions about aid targeting and effectiveness.