AidData: Tracking Development Finance

Open data for development

Donors provide over $130 billion in Official Development Assistance every year—but where has this funding gone, and has it been effective?  Without granular information on individual development aid activities, these questions are impossible to answer.

The AidData initiative seeks to increase aid effectiveness by providing products and services that promote the dissemination, analysis, and understanding of development finance information. AidData maintains an open database of information on individual foreign aid activities, works with donors to develop aid information databases, and provides geocoding services to donors and recipient governments.  

AidData is a joint initiative of Development Gateway, the College of William and Mary, and Brigham Young University. AidData works with many other partners on initiatives ranging from data collection and standardization to geocoding and country-level pilot projects. 

Search thousands of development finance activities via

Learn more about open data initiatives for aid information


[toggle]AidData Database

The AidData web portal includes a searchable database of nearly 1 million records of aid activities, accounting for over $4 trillion financed by 87 donors between 1945 and 2010. Each record is categorized by purpose, donor, and location, so that users can see who is doing what, where, and how. Complementing the work of the OECD, whose Creditor Reporting System (CRS) is the official source of statistics for all OECD member countries, the database republishes CRS data with permission and also includes data from about 30 donors that have never before systematically reported aid information to a central location.

The database is entirely open, meaning that it can be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone. The AidData API allows users to easily download the database for use in original research and for embedding in external blogs and websites. The database has been used to produce books, peer-reviewed research for leading scholarly journals, and aid transparency and quality assessments such as the Center for Global Development’s Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) report.

Search the database.

Watch the AidData demo.

[toggle]Donor Solutions

South-south cooperation and aid from non-OECD member countries makes up a significant and increasing proportion of official aid flows. These development partnerships have long played a vital role in worldwide efforts to reduce poverty and empower developing countries. However, many of these emerging or “non-traditional” donors do not publish aid information in a central, publicly-accessible location. As a result, donors miss valuable opportunities for coordination with development partners, and recipient governments have difficulty reflecting these resources their own planning processes.

To help donors overcome technical barriers to publishing comprehensive aid information, the AidData team collects, digitizes, standardizes, geo-enables, and integrates aid data. Working with information in a variety of formats, AidData compiles all data collected into a database that can be made accessible to the public via an online dashboard. Over the past six years, AidData experts have worked with 15 non-OECD member countries to publicize their aid information.  Governments that have never before published data in a central, publicly-accessible location—including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, and Estonia—have used AidData’s publication services to make their aid more transparent.

To learn more about donor solutions by AidData, please contact us at


To understand whether aid-financed activities are generating results, it is critical to be able to trace funding flows from the origin to the ultimate beneficiary, and assess how the funds were used. For donors, partner governments, and civil society to evaluate impact they must know exactly where aid went—not just to which country, but to which region, city, or town. Precise information on the location of aid activities is also key in determining whether aid is directed to the areas of greatest need, and for avoiding duplication of effort within a country.

Read more about geocoding, or download a factsheet.

Visualizing Aid in Malawi

AidData worked with partners at the Robert S. Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability program at the University of Texas (Austin), Esri, and the Government of Malawi to geocode and visualize aid projects. Read more in the Summer 2012 edition of Esri’s ArcUser magazine.