The Principled Aid Index: understanding donor motivations

Briefing papers
March 2019

Amid a rising tide of political populism in Europe and beyond, the idea that aid should serve the national interest is gaining currency. Yet there is little explicit recognition that aid oriented towards securing domestic interests is not always the most efficient, nor the most effective, way to maximise global development ambitions. Conversely, we forget that aid focused on delivering global development can itself service the national interest.

ODI's Principled Aid (PA) Index ranks bilateral Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors by how they use their official development assistance to pursue their long-term national interest in a safer, sustainable and more prosperous world.

The PA Index is accompanied by a policy brief, which makes the following recommendations: 

  • Donors should advance their national interest by pursuing a principled aid allocation strategy.
  • There is an urgent need for donors to be more public spirited in their aid allocations, maximising every opportunity to achieve development impact.
  • OECD DAC donors should hold each other accountable for delivering principled aid in the national interest.
  • Development cooperation agencies should forge a new political consensus on principled aid across OECD DAC and non-DAC providers.

Alongside, a working paper outlines the conceptual framework and methodological approach that informed the Index’s development.

Explore the interactive index and download the suite of infographics