The Quality of Official Development Assistance

What is QuODA?

The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) measures and compares providers of official development assistance (ODA) on quantitative indicators that matter most to development effectiveness and quality. It aims to encourage improvements to the quality of ODA by highlighting and assessing providers’ performance.

QuODA considers the agency-level measures and characteristics in areas that evidence suggest matters to development and where providers have made commitments. It is a dashboard of key indicators rather than a full assessment of how effective ODA has been, which depends on a wider set of actors and factors.

This is the fifth edition of QuODA; it has been substantially revised since the last iteration. The indicators are based on the evidence of what matters to ODA impact and the principles agreed by 161 counties following a series of international meetings leading up to Busan in 2011 and taken forward by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

QuODA consists of 17 indicators comparable across agencies, organised into four dimensions:

  • Prioritisation: measures how well allocations are targeted to respond to long-term development challenges.
  • Ownership: captures how well providers work with and through partner countries to promote domestic ownership and use of national systems.
  • Transparency and untying: measures the timeliness and comprehensiveness of reporting on ODA activities and whether procurement is tied to domestic contractors.
  • Evaluation: Assesses the quality of providers’ learning and evaluation systems.

QuODA covers the bilateral programmes of 29 member countries of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and the 20 largest multilateral agencies providing ODA.

QuODA 2021 Findings

QuODA 2021 provides a snapshot of agency performance using the latest data on ODA activities currently available. Agencies are ranked based on equally weighted dimensions, themselves based equally on the indicators within them. With the interactive web tool, users can produce rankings according to the combination of dimensions and indicators most relevant to their agency.

Multilateral agencies occupy 6 of the top 10 positions 

Like in prior QuODA iterations, multilateral agencies outperform bilateral providers on overall rankings. Multilaterals also hold the top positions on three of the four QuODA dimensions: Prioritisation, Ownership, and Transparency & Untying.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ranks 1st on QuODA overall. It ranked in the top 10 for each of the four dimensions and 1st on Transparency & Untying. IFAD ranks 4th on both the Ownership and Evaluation dimensions, owing to strong alignment with partner country objectives and high-quality evaluation systems. It ranks 7th on Prioritisation, and scores well on measures of poverty focus and the share of ODA that reaches partner countries.

The African Development Fund (AfDF) is 2nd overall, continuing its strong performance from prior QuODA iterations. It scores particularly well on Prioritisation (2nd), displaying a strong focus on poverty and the least-aided countries; it has room for improvement on the Evaluation dimension. The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) ranks 3rd, with strong scores across all four dimensions. The Global Fund and GAVI complete the top five. While both score particularly well on Prioritisation, both could do better on Evaluation by improving systems for institutional learning.

Sweden tops the bilateral providers, followed by Finland, Denmark, Canada, and Belgium

Sweden’s score is pulled up by strong performance on the Evaluation and Transparency & Untying dimensions, where it ranks 1st and 6th, respectively. But its average performance on Prioritisation and Ownership leave room for improvement.  

Finland and Denmark rank 2nd and 3rd amongst bilateral providers, respectively. Finland scores consistently well across all dimensions, while Denmark shows strong performance on the Evaluation dimension. Canada and Belgium complete the top five bilateral performers. Canada’s overall ranking is pulled up by strong scores on the Transparency & Untying dimension, where it ranks 3rd, but it scores less well on Prioritisation. Belgium is in the top 10 on Prioritisation, and in the top half on all other dimensions.

The quality bilateral providers’ ODA tends to rise with quantity

While QuODA does not assess the quantity of ODA provided, it is striking that the most generous providers—those who provide the highest share of ODA relative to GNI—tend to score above average on QuODA (figure 1). This trend is driven primarily by Scandinavian and Northern European providers, who are known for their strong commitment to development finance and impact. France is the only country to provide above average quantity but below average quality.

The largest absolute providers of aid—the US, Germany, and the UK—rank 35th, 28th, and 16th, respectively. The US is in the bottom half of providers for Prioritisation, Ownership, and Evaluation. Germany scores well on Transparency & Untying and performs in the middle of providers on Ownership and Evaluation, but could improve on Prioritisation by focusing spending on countries most in need. The UK scores in the bottom third on Ownership reported by its partners and ranks just outside the top 10 on the other three dimensions.

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