The latest FAD in development?

America gives lots of money to other countries. Ever wonder how it’s being spent? You can find out here: the US Foreign Assistance Dashboard.

Some fun facts:

  • In 2011, foreign assistance was at $37 billion, or 1% of total federal spending. Interest on the national debt was $185 billion, or 5%
  • In 2013 we’ll spend over 3x more on military aid to Israel than on Feed the Future, the biggest food security program. ($3.1B vs $1B). (More thoughts on how we spend that Feed the Future money here.)
  • Overhead is only 6%! What enviable efficiency. (See chart below – this includes general admin and M&E.) I’m sure the rest goes straight to the beneficiaries.
  • Out of $36.3 billion in aid, we’re only spending $706 million on M&E! That’s just a measly 2%. Outrageously low – how can they possibly know anything about the impact of their programs?
  • DoS / USAID has budgeted $10,000 for Saudi Arabia. That’s $0.1 million for Security Sector Reform (aka helping train / equip their police or armed forces). Maybe their allowance got docked after a Saudi princess tried to dodge a $7.5 million Paris hotel bill last June.
  • Of course, I have to write about Niger. Though the request is pretty much what you’d expect – Maternal Health, Good Governance and support for Security Services. What’s not there from last year: a big chunk of change for humanitarian readiness. Which is why their total is down from $58 to $17 million.
  • In November 2011, the US signed on to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a multilateral – and voluntary – initiative meant to make information about aid more available. This is a good first step for the US.

This FAD in its early stages, and there’s plenty more data yet to be uploaded. Meaning lots more fun facts to be discovered!

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About developingnathan
I am a reflective person. I am an introvert, a friend, a brother and a son. I appreciate a well-crafted glass of beer, piece of music and turn of phrase. I am a professional of international development, a good pianist and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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