By Temitope Ponle
The African Development Fund (AfDF) has been ranked second among 49 international agencies for the quality of its development assistance, according to the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) report.
The AfDF is the concessional arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.
The QuODA is a tool developed by the Centre for Global Development (CGD) and the Brookings Institution to measure which donors provide “higher quality aid” and how they can improve.
It also provides an assessment of efforts to comply with development commitments.
It assesses the bilateral programmes of 29 member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the 20 largest multilateral agencies that provide official development assistance (ODA).
The QuODA was by Ian Mitchell, co-Director of Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow; Rachael Calleja, Senior Research Associate; and Sam Hughe, Research Assistant, all with the CGD.
According to the fifth edition of the QuODA report, the AfDF is serving its constituency well by focusing on poverty and the least-aided countries.
According to the report, the QuODA measures and compares providers ODA on quantitative indicators that matter most to development effectiveness and quality.
It also aims to encourage improvements to the quality of ODA by highlighting and assessing providers’ performances.
QuODA consists of 17 indicators comparable across agencies, organised into four dimensions which are Prioritising, Ownership, Transparency and Untying and Evaluation.
The 2021 report singled out the AfDF and its peers for being adept at ensuring that development reached the intended recipients.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ranked first on QuODA overall.
The AfDF was second overall, continuing its strong performance from prior QuODA iterations scoring well on Prioritisation coming second in displaying a strong focus on poverty and the least-aided countries.
The report, however, noted that the AfDF had room for improvement on the Evaluation dimension.
Also, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) ranked third, with strong scores across all four dimensions.
Furthermore, the Global Fund and GAVI completed the top five.
The report also noted that the multilateral agencies outperformed bilateral agencies on Prioritisation, with the top five ranks held by the Global Fund, GAVI, AfDF, IDA, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), respectively.
Three of the top six places on Ownership were taken by regional development banks, with the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) first, the AfDF coming second, and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) seventh.
For each, over 80 per cent of recipients reported alignment with their objectives.
Also, according to the report, Transparency in ODA enables providers and partners to understand and plan effectively, and it facilitates scrutiny over ODA spending, benefiting taxpayers and partner governments alike.
It noted that this dimension also covered the issue of aid tying, that is, whether providers required ODA to be delivered from contractors in their own country or shareholders.
IFAD ranked first on Transparency and Untying, with the WHO second, Canada third, and GAVI and the EU completing the top five.
Moreover, the report identified four main recommendations for providers to improve the quality of ODA in the years ahead.
“For country providers and policymakers, there is a clear and consistent message: using the multilateral system can support development effectiveness.
“Providers should strengthen partner ownership in development engagements. QuODA 2021 shows that there remains significant room for improvement in implementing (and measuring) the principle of ownership.
“Moreover, providers and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) should work together to achieve better response rates and measurement, through the GPEDC surveys.
“Transparency on ODA is partial, and all providers should report systematically to the International Aid Transparency initiative (IATI) or establish another common platform that recipients can access. High-quality and timely reporting on ODA is needed to support partnership and mutual accountability.”
In a statement from the AfDB, Mr Simon Mizrahi, Director of Delivery, Performance and Results with the bank, said the timing of the report could not have been better.
Mizrahi added that the assessment by the CGD would help the bank guide its interventions as it strives to support regional member countries through health and economic challenges.
“This report confirms that the bank is on the right track by focusing on producing timely development assistance data, and ensuring that we strengthen the learning loop to continuously improve our offering to the Bank’s regional member countries.
“Every day we get better, and every day we go further to support countries across the continent to increase resilience and deliver a better quality of life to their people,” he said.
The AfDF consists of 32 contributing states and benefits 37 countries. (NAN)