Interactive Feature

Listening to Leaders 2021

A report card for development partners in an era of contested cooperation

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Leader priorities

How often does a Sustainable Development Goal appear in leaders' top six priorities?

We asked leaders the following question: “Based upon your experience, what are the most important issues for advancing [your country’s] development?” Respondents identified up to six goals from a fixed list of 16 SDGs that they believed to be most important for advancing their country’s development.

About the report

Listening to Leaders 2021: A report card for development partners in an era of contested cooperation analyzes the results of a survey of nearly 7,000 public, private and civil society leaders from 141 countries and territories around the world. Conducted from June-September of 2020, AidData's 2020 Listening to Leaders Survey asked these leaders about their top development priorities; which development partners they worked with; and how they rated their partners' performance across multiple dimensions.

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Development partner performance

How influential and helpful are donors, according to the leaders with whom they work in different regions and sectors?


Which international donors do leaders see as their preferred development partners?

From the report...

In this study, we use two demand-side measures of development partner performance: influence in shaping policy priorities, and helpfulness in implementing policy initiatives or reforms. Leaders rated the influence and helpfulness of the institutions they had worked with, from a fixed list of 43 multilateral and bilateral donors, on a scale of 1 (not at all influential / not at all helpful) to 4 (very influential / very helpful). In this analysis, we only include a donor if they were rated by at least 30 respondents.

For each of the development partners from whom they received advice or assistance, leaders were asked a series of performance questions. Using their responses, we calculated three perception-based measures of development partner performance: (1) influence in shaping how leaders prioritize which problems to solve; (2) whether that influence was seen as positive (or negative); and (3) helpfulness in supporting leaders to implement policy changes (i.e., reforms).

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