Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Flowchart showing an overview of the policy cycle, and where ICAI fits in and can influence decisions.

Results vs. Claims: Strengthening the UK’s Aid Watchdog

ICAI has just entered its third four-year phase. ICAI is a major asset in ensuring aid is well-spent. Having reviewed ICAI’s prior work, we think ICAI could should focus more on “results claims”—that is, whether the estimates of expected benefits that underpin decision-making by Ministers are well-evidenced.

ICAI grades for spending directly evaluated (Depts reviewed and >1% UK aid)

How Effective Is UK Aid? Assessing the Last 8 Years of Spending

In our new policy paper, we take advantage of the fact that the impact of UK aid is independently assessed by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI). Looking back over 8 years and 65 graded assessments, even with a focus on riskier projects, we find that almost 80 percent of UK aid assessed was well spent. With a spending review on the horizon, HM Treasury will be looking closely at departmental performance and should use ICAI’s findings to shape their allocations. 

Africa CEO Forum

UK Aid Watchdog to CDC: Time to be More Accountable, More Transparent on Development Finance

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) issued a report this week on the performance of CDC–the UK’s development finance institution–in low-income and fragile states. ICAI gives CDC an Amber/Red rating on its performance, which means “unsatisfactory achievement in most areas, with some positive elements.” In particular, the commission says that CDC has not done enough to monitor its performance. 

R&D ODA by UK, compared to other DAC donors ($ millions)

ODA for Research & Development: Too Much of a Good Thing?

If you line up all countries ranked by their ODA spending on research and development (R&D) in 2017, the UK has spent more than the next 15 combined. This has the potential to generate new technology and ideas that accelerate the increase in living standards we are witnessing across the globe. But for it to fulfil this potential, there are a series of questions that should be considered concerning its allocation.

timeline of UK departments for development

Should the UK’s Development Department be Merged with Foreign Affairs and Trade?

Rumours have re-surfaced—perhaps as a result of Treasury kite-flying—that  the Government is considering merging its international-facing Departments as part of the coming spending review. We’ve argued in the past that the best approach to development policy is through an integrated approach to aid, trade and foreign policy. But merging DFID into the FCO at this time would be likely to diminish the UK’s global influence, damage its development effectiveness, and work against the idea of Global Britain.