The information available through AidData comes from a number of sources, including the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System, annual reports and project documents published by donors, web-accessible databases and project documents, and spreadsheets and data exports obtained directly from donor agencies.
The majority of the activities in AidData are drawn from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Creditor Reporting System (CRS). The Aid Activity database of the DAC (the Creditor Reporting System) contains statistics on individual aid activities. The system – in existence since 1967 – is sponsored jointly by the OECD and the World Bank. It covers most of the bilateral activities of the 24 members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as well as those of multilateral development banks, some UN agencies, some non-DAC donors and, from 2009, the Gates Foundation.
The CRS is updated on a regular basis with over 100,000 new grant and loan commitments added each year. These records include descriptive and financial information.
Some CRS disbursement records are at present excluded from the main AidData database. Please see “Commitment and Disbursement Amounts” below for more detail.
For more information about the OECD CRS, visit www.oecd.org/dac/stats/crsguide.
Most of the CRS data in AidData 2.0 is pulled from the OECD website through the bulk download facility on the OECD.Stat portal. The CRS no longer includes past aid flows to countries that have graduated from eligibility for Official Development Assistance that were covered by CRS in previous years. Since flows to such previous aid recipients have some value to researchers, AidData has taken information on these flows from the 2009 edition of the OECD’s International Development Statistics (IDS) CD-ROM. Throughout this document, this source is referred to as Previous Aid Flows. To see the donors, recipients, and recipient-year sets that were imported as Previous Aid Flows, see the AidData User's Guide. Users who wish to include Previous Aid Flows may do so by including all records where the source field is equal to “Previous Aid Flows.”
In AidData version 2.0, two sources of CRS data – the complete May 2011 edition of the OECD.Stat dataset and the Previous Aid Flows found in the IDS – are combined to create the most complete available data for each donor.
For donors who are not members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) or do not report to the OECD CRS, AidData gathered data through many different channels. In some cases, the AidData team also used alternate sources for donors also found in the OECD CRS. In these cases, the alternate sources contained additional information, including improved descriptions or Other Official Flows (OOF) not available in the OECD CRS. Alternate sources include annual reports, web-based project pages or direct data exports.
A complete list of sources by donor is available below.
Annual Reports served as the source for most multilateral development bank records as well as the many non-DAC bilateral donors. AidData gathered these reports from freely-available print or web resources.
When data were made available online but not in easy-to-download formats, the AidData team used web-scraping tools to systematically and comprehensively capture the web-based information from the database. For example, AidData’s records for World Bank-funded activities were scraped from the World Bank’s project pages.
Where suitable data for inclusion could not be found already in the public domain, the AidData team contacted donors directly. In many cases, donors happily provided AidData project-level information in the form of project documents, database exports, spreadsheets, or a combination of these formats. AidData formatted, standardized, and, if needed, translated these records for inclusion in AidData. Donors who provided us data directly had the opportunity to review their data prior to publication. In some cases, donors had never systematically reported on their aid activities before and AidData provided expertise and guidance on how to do so. As a result, some of these donors are only able to populate a small number of fields at this time. It is anticipated that data for these donors will improve in quality and quantity as they work with AidData to improve their data collection and reporting capacity.
Since the release of AidData Research Release 1.9.2 AidData has made several additions to the activities database. AidData also has updated historical records for activities from the OECD CRS. Additional donors and years include:
India (2005-2010, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of External Affairs)
Saudi Arabia (2005-2009, Saudi Fund for Development)
Kuwait (2007-2009, Kuwait Fund for Economic Development)
United Arab Emirates (2008-2010, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development)
Islamic Development Bank (1975-2008)
African Development Fund (2008-2010)
African Development Bank (2009-2010)
Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development (2007-2010)
Congo Basin Forest Fund (2009-2010)
Nigerian Trust Fund (2007-2010)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2009)
World Health Organization (2009)
United Arab Emirates (2009)
Nordic Development Fund (2009)
OPEC Fund for International Development (2009)
With data spanning 64 years there is a wide range in the completeness of data, especially for earlier years. New donors are being added all the time to the datasets, as they report to CRS and/or direct to AidData, but they often do not provide data covering their activities in the years before they started reporting. This affects long time series, as part of any perceived increase in aid volumes is simply due to covering more donors and more of their aid. Such analyses should thus be treated with circumspection.
Moreover many DAC donors have been gradually increasing the proportion of their aid that they report at activity level to the CRS over many years. As its name indicates, the Creditor Reporting System started as a system for recording commitments of loans (or credits). From the early 1990s, the DAC Secretariat has encouraged DAC donors to provide information on their grants as well as on their disbursements at activity level. From 2011 coverage for DAC donors should be complete. But some donors added their disbursements only in the early 2000s and Japan has been reporting its technical cooperation activities only since 2003. Thus the CRS online system includes commitment data only from 1995 and expenditure data from 2002. The partial data for earlier years is included in the bulk download facility and incorporated in AidData.
Appendix A provides estimates of the coverage of the AidData records. For DAC donors this is calculated by comparing their CRS reporting with the aggregate data for total bilateral ODA commitments that they report separately to the DAC. For other donors there are no similar control totals available, but in some cases data are provided only for a few years and /or by some agencies within the country. This is indicated in the Notes column.
Download coverage notes for AidData by donor.
Download coverage notes for AidData by recipient.
AidData includes records for development financing activities from 1947-2011. Development finance is defined as loans, grants, or equity investments from governments, official government aid agencies, and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) intended to promote the economic development and welfare (broadly defined) of developing countries. This takes a broad view of development assistance, beyond traditionally defined Official Development Assistance (ODA). AidData therefore includes commitments that offer financing to developing countries in the form of:
Mixed loans and grants
Loans at discretionary rates from multilateral agencies
Loans for development at market rates
Sector program aid transfers in cash or in kind
Some equity investment activities
AidData does not include the following types of funding:
Military equipment and services
Military stock of debt
Export credits or trade financing
Aid flows from non-governmental organizations2
Private long-term capital
Loans made out of funds held in the recipient country
Foreign direct investment (FDI), unguaranteed bank lending, portfolio investment.
Contributions to core funding of multilateral development organizations (Following the CRS reporting directives, AidData does include flows from donor governments to multilateral organizations provided that they are earmarked as “financing for specific projects.” )
As donors’ core multilateral contributions are excluded, AidData cannot be used to calculate aggregate totals for any donor’s ODA. For such data, see the DAC’s aggregate data.
As data are gathered by diverse methods from many sources, it makes associating records that may refer to the same project different for every source. For example, the OECD CRS, one of AidData’s largest sources, is a transaction-level database for reporting on annual commitments and disbursements. In the case of CRS information, many disbursement records cannot at present be reliably linked to commitment records for the same project. AidData is working with the OECD to investigate ways of linking commitment and disbursement records from this source. But at present, records that only include disbursements are excluded from the AidData dataset. This means that disbursement sums for OECD members do not reflect the values reported by the donor. For complete information on OECD CRS disbursements, please visit the CRS website.
Users should note that commitment records are imported in their entirety. The excluded disbursement records are also available for download here, should users wish to use them to complement AidData 2.0. Should you have questions or comments about AidData’s handling of these records, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.