The First Tranche Archives
AidData releases first-ever global dataset on China’s development spending spree
Five years in the making, AidData’s data collection effort has captured more than USD $350 billion in foreign aid and other forms of state financing that China committed to five major regions of the world.
Call for Proposals: Workshop on tracking international aid from emerging economies
Submit a one-page proposal to receive pre-publication access to unpublished datasets, including AidData's forthcoming China global dataset, and to present at Heidelberg University this September.
Using maching learning to combat environmental degredation on a global scale
Leveraging machine learning algorithms to sift through terabytes of high-resolution satellite data, a new report by AidData and the Global Environment Facility has identified the factors that contribute to land degradation on a global scale.
Rating the 2016 project performance disclosure practices of 50 donors
Despite the fact that most funders of overseas development projects are now signatories to major transparency initiatives like IATI and the Open Government Partnership, only two donors systematically publish standardized project performance ratings.
Three insights into what data users demand: Are open data advocates listening?
In early 2016, the AidData Center for Development Policy interviewed close to 200 policymakers and practitioners in three countries about their demand for data in the sectors of education, health and agriculture. Here's what we heard.
Context matters in foreign aid’s effect on violence
Does foreign aid to conflict-prone countries make them more stable, and decrease the frequency and intensity of conflict? Research on the complicated nexus between aid and conflict has produced conflicting results, with no consensus on foreign aid’s true effects.
Untangling the complex relationship between aid and conflict with subnational data
Outside actors frequently try to address the causes and consequences of civil conflict by offering aid to “one side” or to innocents caught in the middle. However, there are still some unanswered fudamental questions regarding aid's real effect on conflict.
The changing tactics of aid when partisanship runs high
The U.S. distributes almost twice as much foreign aid as any other nation; in 2015 alone the U.S. spent about $27.4 billion on foreign assistance. What happens when an uncooperative Congress makes it difficult for the executive branch to allocate bilateral aid?
Suits on the ground: Does "ground game" buy influence?
Does “ground game” — the strength of a development partner’s local presence and direct engagement with recipient government officials — affect how in-country decision makers assess the performance of development partners?
Groundbreaking study on how developing world leaders view German aid
The study is the first to analyze Germany’s official development assistance activities based on the experiences, observations, and opinions of decision makers in the countries that German aid agencies seek to help.
Small but mighty: Denmark ranks highly as a development partner, according to report
Denmark is one of only six countries in the world to achieve the UN's development assistance target, though this is only part of the equation for development success. How do Denmark’s development efforts measure up from the perspective of its partner countries?
AidData publishes geocoded dataset on Chinese financing in ecological hotspots
The dataset captures $161 billion in financial commitments between 2000 and 2014 and extends the geographical coverage of AidData’s existing database of Chinese development projects in Africa to parts of Asia and Latin America.
How do other countries perceive the US government's global development influence?
With the recent White House Global Development Summit and passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA), it is an opportune time to reflect on lessons learned from the United States’ performance as a development partner.
PEPFAR Innovation Challenge to reduce HIV/AIDS in Africa awards AidData two-year project
Over the course of the two-year project, AidData will partner with two organizations — Akros and Torodev — that have a local presence in Zambia and Uganda to help policymakers in these countries make healthcare decisions based on the best available data and evidence.
Crowding in funding for the SDGs: Reflections on the missing development trillions
Now that the world has agreed on 17 goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators for the SDGs, the dialogue is shifting towards the “price tag” the SDGs come with. Estimates on this abound, and are in the range of $3-5 trillion.
Reflections on this week’s coverage in The Economist
In “Apples and Dragon Fruits,” we analyze the factors that motivate China’s provision of official financing from China to Africa. One of the core findings is highlighted in this week’s edition of The Economist. We’d like to take this opportunity to clarify our findings.
Evaluating evidence from a USAID governance project in Ghana
Local politicians and bureaucrats in low- and middle-income countries play a crucial role in the distribution of aid dollars, acting as gatekeepers in determining which constituents receive aid, and to what degree that assistance is effective. Let's look at Ghana as an example.
Walking the talk: Lessons learned and looking ahead to wave two of AidData’s Omnibus Survey
As international pressure mounts to deliver on commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is ever more important for development actors to understand how they can maximize their effectiveness and be helpful partners.
AidData students transform skills developed at AidData to create award-winning app
The way they tell the story, app-developers Kelvin Abrokwa-Johnson and Nathan Owen were just two eager William & Mary students who came to AidData looking to gain career skills. What they came away with, though, was much more than that.
Listening to our readers: Improvements to AidData’s Value for Money Index
The Value for Money index is the first attempt to combine data on the policy influence of bilateral and multilateral development partners, as perceived by participants in the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey, with international development finance data from AidData.
Press release: Developing world leaders speak out on aid donors
The "Listening to Leaders" report draws upon the frank views of policymakers and practitioners from 126 low- and middle-income countries, and attracted the participation of high-level officials across the public, private and civil society sectors.
Measuring the ‘health’ of AidData project records: Quality scores for development finance data based on open sources
In response to user requests for simple and intuitive summary metrics of data quality at the project-level, the AidData team has developed a scoring system that we call our “Health of Record” methodology.
No more flying blind: Join the data revolution for sustainable development
Attention is quickly turning from the content of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to how these goals will be implemented. Data will be critical to track resources, monitor progress, and create accountability for results.
"The West can keep their 'aid'": Uganda looks East for infrastructure
Uganda is currently investing in huge infrastructure projects in order to further enable industrial and economic development. The country is looking to China to supply more than $10 billion in funding for the construction of many of these projects.
Introducing the next generation of development innovators: AidData's student Shark Tank makes a splash
Inspired by a similar event held in February of 2015 in which AidData’s staff pitched innovative development ideas, teams of students developed research proposals that leverage sub-national spatial data to address relevant policy and research questions over the course of 8 weeks.
Asking the right questions: AidData's Survey Practice
The "Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change" report analyzes the influence of over 100 external assessments according to over 6,750 survey participants, and it makes some interesting observations about factors that make assessments more and less influential.
Reducing extreme poverty in the post-MDG era: Lessons from four emerging economies
The last 15 years has shown that trends in growth, poverty reduction, and the link between the two have varied widely among countries. Four key lessons collectively point to the need to look beyond the usual metrics and beyond growth entirely.
Changing tides: Tracking aid in the Caribbean
Over the past several decades, The Caribbean and its countries' needs and priorities have shifted. They have now expanded beyond their traditional relationships in the development world and started to form ties with non-traditional donors.
The politics of aid allocation: New evidence from Zambia
As the ongoing debate continues over whether financial assistance is an effective way to improve development outcomes, the politicization of aid is one factor that some scholars suggest makes it harder for aid to reach the places where there is the most need or opportunity.
AidData funds next generation of development research using geospatial data
In this post we’re excited to tell you more about 9 awardees that will begin work this summer, and provide a preview of how this cohort of research projects will advance our mission to make development finance data more accessible and actionable.
AidData/USAID GDL Series 3: Strengthening the “demand side” of data
AidData has collaborated with a network of more than 80 partners -- governments, multilateral institutions, non-profits, and the private sector, including engagements with over 25 USAID Missions and operating units -- to scale the “technology” of geospatial data and analysis.
Working towards a “new normal”: AidData and the U.S. Global Development Lab’s efforts to accelerate uptake of geospatial data and analysis
AidData has been working in close partnership with USAID’s Global Development Lab to create a “new normal” where policymakers and practitioners ask themselves “why would we not use data and analytics to maximize the impact of every development dollar we spend?”
Who do developing world leaders listen to and why? New evidence from the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey
Do leaders pay more attention to external assessments that benchmark their performance against other countries, or to assessments that are specifically focused on their own country? The answer to this question is nuanced.
“First data responders?”: Lessons learned from Nepal
In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, hyper-local, crowdsourced data functioned as signposts for both national and international organizations as they sought to provide timely relief to those areas in greatest need of assistance.
Saudi aid to Yemen: Stability over development?
A lack of consistent aid reporting practices from donors like Saudi Arabia has limited the ability of international observers to monitor how much of this assistance Yemen has actually received or what was funded under blanket pledges.
New "Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change" report shows how external sources of analysis and advice shape reform in low and middle income countries
The Marketplace of Ideas for Policy Change report examines the influence of over 100 external assessments of government performance on the policymaking process in low and middle income countries.
Money, Ideas & Reform: What does it take to influence lasting change?
With a new survey practice, AidData hopes to improve the ability of development partners to evaluate their influence and impact, but also to encourage greater attentiveness and responsiveness to the experiences and priorities of in-country decision-makers and stakeholders.