The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched an online portal to showcase the financial data it publishes to IATI. Launched in September 2018, the AfDB Data Portal provides publicly-available information on AfDB funding of 4300 development projects and supports internal decision-making and monitoring of investments.
Commitment to transparency
AfDB has a long-standing commitment to transparency and joined IATI as a member in 2011. As part of this commitment, the Bank publishes spending and results according to the IATI Standard.
Accessible data for stakeholders
Continually striving to improve transparency, AfDB has developed innovative tools to provide public access to its IATI data, including a new AfDB data portal, which provides aggregated data on financing by sector, country, region and its five strategic development priorities - the High 5.
The AfDB data portal complements the Bank’s previously published MapAfrica tool that specifically maps project locations, impact and results.
Together, both portals enable policymakers and civil society to visualise and better understand the Bank’s distribution and prioritisation of development resources. Understanding what projects exist, who is working on them and where the gaps are, helps to inform effective decisions and improve accountability.
AfDB staff are making use of these tools to improve their own data management practices. The data has improved the quality of internal knowledge about how investments are allocated and used. By using this information to inform decisions, AfDB is able to improve the efficiency of its funding.
The timely, comprehensive, accessible and harmonised information provided by the data portal is also being used for reporting and monitoring, including tracking delivery against the Bank’s five development priorities:
- Light up and Power Africa
- Feed Africa
- Industrialize Africa
- Integrate Africa
- Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa
AfDB’s transparency journey
The African Development Bank published its first IATI-compliant data back in 2013. Over the next five years, the Bank increased its focus on transparency. Horia Sohir Debbiche, Principal Results and Transparency Officer at AfDB said,
“Transparency is about shifting organisational culture, which takes time and does not rely on one person or system alone.”
Initially, staff focused on publishing data according to the IATI Standard and expanding the details they shared, for example by providing data on specific locations and the results achieved through their projects.
Now AfDB have turned their attention to increasing the use of their data, both internally and externally through enabling more user-friendly access. By creating AfDB data portal, anyone in the world with internet access can easily visualise, filter and export files about their investments in Excel or CSV format.
AfDB is also committed to upgrading its tools to meet user needs, and recently published version 3.0 of MapAfrica, that provides a link to financing information in the AfDB data portal for each project.
There is much scope for the AfDB data portal to grow and expand in the future. The Bank plans to add pictures, news, articles and multimedia material. AfDB will also focus on improving awareness of the portals, as well as the continual refinement of its own data.