Official Development Assistance, or ODA, provides a fundamental source of financing in the poorest and most fragile countries. Current ODA is estimated at $135 billion USD a year, but investment needs in infrastructure alone reach up to $1.5 trillion a year in emerging and developing countries according to the World Bank Group. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) recently announced plans to extend more than $400 billion USD in financing over the next three years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yet meeting the staggering but achievable needs of the SDGs agenda requires the most efficient use of each dollar from every source.

"In order to assess the potential effects of ODA increases, it is essential to track the specific countries and sectors where the money is being targeted,” says Maximo Torero, Director of the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). “An advanced tool for tracking ODA investments over time can assure the necessary investments are there to accomplish the SDGs."

A new interactive mapping tool from IFPRI allows users to track ODA by donor country, receiving sector, and year, with the map illustrating the level of aid to each recipient country in USD (millions). Using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the map can show trends in ODA from one country or donor group over time, or track the level of aid to a specific sector in a particular country. The data used is also publicly available for download here.

The map shows, for instance, the while ODA toward water supply and sanitation experienced fairly continuous increase on a global scale between 2005 and 2013, the levels of water supply and sanitation aid to individual countries and regions varied greatly over that period. Those differences could have implications for not only the availability of safe water for household consumption, but also on agriculture and industry.

The SDGs are ambitious and will demand equal ambition in using the billions of dollars in current flows of ODA and all available resources to attract, leverage and mobilize trillions in investments of all kinds—public and private, national and global. Increasing external resource flows to developing countries for investment is essential to achieving the SDGs—but these can be expected to materialize only in circumstances where countries have coherent and transparent development strategies fostering macroeconomic stability, while also ensuring the delivery of key public sector services and a business environment supportive of growth.

BY: Rachel Kohn, IFPRI

ADDITIONAL READING: G7 commits to lifting 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030