Today sees the launch of the killer fact-tastic inaugural Investments to End Poverty report by Development Initiatives. The report makes the case for aid as an essential part of ‘getting to zero’ on absolute poverty by 2030, but as is increasingly the norm, the report locates aid among the much wider issue of development-related resource flows, both domestic and international. In speed reading mode, I have not yet read the full 330 page monster, but an advance peak at the 10 page ‘highlights’ document provides a goldmine of stats and infographics for many other purposes into the bargain. Some of the ones that jumped out at me:
Government spending in developing countries is now $5.9 trillion a year. More than half of all developing countries have seen government spending grow at an average of over 5% a year between 2000 and 2011. For the remainder, average annual growth in government spending has been 2.5%.
The scale and diversity of resource flows to developing countries has increased rapidly. The volume of international resources received by developing countries has more than doubled since 2000, reaching an estimated US$ 2.1 trillion in 2011.
Resources also flow out of developing countries. Of the $472 billion in foreign direct Investment into developing countries, $420 billion flowed out as repatriated profits.
Official development assistance remains important. ODA remains the main international resource for countries with government spending of less than PPP$500 per person a year.
Nice annotated graph of aid flows 1960-2012 (see below)
Developing countries do not always receive what a donor reports as allocated. The headline amount of aid reported as disbursed by donors (including investment in global public goods) is much bigger than the amount developing country governments control and can directly administer. (See Uganda example – the discrepancy is explained in the main report as due to the published figure including debt relief, administrative costs, transaction costs (such as shipping costs of food aid) and because some aid doesn’t go through government books, because it goes directly to other bodies like NGOs and/or the government knows nothing about it).
And here’s Development Initiatives guru Judith Randel doing the increasingly obligatory 4m piece to camera