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!


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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