Zach Silberman

This week has seen a flurry of news on the aid transparency front. On Tuesday, the State Department’s Foreign Assistance Dashboard released data on the work of the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), making it the the sixth agency to have their data published on the Dashboard with the Department of Defense and the Department of the Treasury publishing their data in May. But the big news of the week was the release of Publish What You Fund’s 2013 Aid Transparency Index (ATI), which highlights the most transparent foreign aid agencies in the world. And for the first time a U.S. agency was on top with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scoring highest in transparency, in the ATI.ATI Logo

The report released early Thursday serves as the standard guide to how the global community is following through with its efforts to be more transparent in providing information on its global development programs. The findings argued transparency has become an important “pillar” of development, which can enable effectiveness, accountability, and social change.

According to Publish What You Fund’s report, the MCC led the way with the highest score due to its efforts to bring a strong institutional commitment to transparency and adhering to the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This includes the publishing of the agency’s funding data on the Dashboard, as well as publishing on its own web site other forms of data on the MCC’s programs. It was a significant jump from being the ninth ranked world agency in 2012, particularly as the MCC beat out the 2012 top ranked agency the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

And there are encouraging signs as more U.S. agencies are continuing to publish their foreign assistance data. Currently, the Foreign Assistance Dashboard includes data from the MCC, State Department, Department of Defense, and USAID. This week’s publication of the USADF’s data on the Dashboard made the organization the sixth U.S. foreign aid agency to publish its data on the foreign assistance transparency hub. According to the State Department, “The addition of USADF budget, obligation, disbursement, and transaction data marks another significant step forward for the U.S. Government’s foreign assistance transparency efforts.”

As American taxpayers demand and deserve to see how their dollars are being spent, agencies funded through the International Affairs Budget are leading the way in demonstrating effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency.

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