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With the UK General Election just two weeks away, we know that international development is a high priority issue for our blog-reading voters. We have examined each of the main party’s manifestos and analysed their international development commitments.
Ministers are gathering at the UN this week to discuss the financing needs to meet the Global Goals—with the challenge that resources will clearly fall short, not least because most high-income countries are still failing to meet their financial commitments. We reviewed the pathways taken by the countries that agreed to the UN 0.7 percent target on overseas development assistance as a share of national income, and find that—perhaps unsurprisingly—aid as a share of the economy rises with per capita income.
In the world of foreign aid flows, the idea of paying for outcomes rather than inputs has a long history. Yet despite regular proclamations of interest in such approaches, the share of funding that is linked to outputs or outcomes instead of activities and processes remains quite small.
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.
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.
A truly global international development regime should be based on shared values and common rules, while also respecting the wants and rights of recipient countries and societies. If the Development Assistance Committee (DAC)—the “traditional donors”—find common ground and build mutual trust with China, improved understanding and learning, and transparency, may follow.