Monday, July 12, 2010

Aid Transparency: First the UK, Now the US?

This guest post is by Felipe Cabezas, who recently joined GlobalGiving.

DFID, the UK’s aid agency, recently committed itself to an Aid Transparency Guarantee, which will allow donors and beneficiaries to view aid spending and will increase aid effectiveness via beneficiary feedback.

 Holbrooke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi
In a letter to Senator John Kerry, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke echoed DFID’s statement. In reference to USAID’s work in Pakistan, he wrote that “[John Kerry’s] suggestion of providing more information about our efforts on the Internet is a good one, and we plan on putting more information on the USAID and Embassy websites as our plans become more concrete.”

It is great that USAID’s Islamabad mission is signaling a greater commitment to aid transparency, and hopefully it will consider the Center for Global Development’s suggestions when updating its website.

But USAID should not stop at Pakistan. It should provide the public with greater insight into its activities worldwide, thereby making the entire organization – not just one part – transparent.

DFID has already introduced a new kind of official aid agency: one that broadcasts its work and uses beneficiary feedback to improve its programs. If USAID embraces this model, it will join DFID as a leader in this “new age” of official aid.

Which other official aid agencies will follow?
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