Greater aid transparency: crucial for aid effectiveness

Briefing papers
January 2010
Samuel Moon and Tim Williamson

This paper sets out and explores the link between donor aid and recipient country budgets, and the role greater transparency about aid can play in improving budget transparency, the quality of budgetary decisions, and accountability systems. The paper goes on to explore how current initiatives to improve aid transparency can best support better budgets and accountability in aid dependent countries. These efforts provide an important opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of both the recipient governments’ own spending and the aid they receive from donors.

It concludes that publishing better information on aid requires compatibility with recipients’ budgeting and planning systems. The research findings suggest that recipient budgets bear many similarities, but this is not reflected in current formats for reporting aid. Finally, it concludes that the poorest countries will lose out if donors do not publish aid information that is easy to link with recipient government budget systems.

Research related to this paper has been funded by the International Budget Partnership and Publish What You Fund with the aim to inform and influence the International Aid Transparency Initiative, an ongoing process that is building an international standard for aid information as a follow on from the resolutions in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action.

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