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This paper discusses the United Kingdom’s foreign aid quality based on an updated assessment of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) published by the Center for Global Development. QuODA uses 24 quantitative indicators based on how aid is given, grouped into four themes: maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on recipient countries, and transparency and learning. These are based on principles which donor and recipient countries agreed to in a series of high-level meetings on aid effectiveness.

We find UK aid quality has decreased from 2012 to 2016 and now ranks 15th out of the 27 countries assessed. The quality of its multilateral aid is relatively strong with significant contributions to EU institutions who score in the top half of multilateral agencies, and well-above the UK’s bilateral aid.

We analyse the UK’s bilateral aid in detail, identifying areas of relative strength but also four recommendations for the UK Government to improve aid effectiveness:

  1. Greater alignment with recipient plans and evaluations

  2. Improved predictability and reduced fragmentation

  3. Renewed commitment to giving aid to the poorest countries

  4. Continued support to multilaterals after Brexit

We also argue that all donors should revisit effective aid principles and agree to measures which take better account of today’s challenges and contexts, including fragile states.

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