• Data tool
  • 23 August 2021

Tracking aid flows in light of the Covid-19 crisis

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This interactive data tool is updated monthly to provide a real-time picture of what is happening to aid as donors publish their data. To receive an email when the tracker is updated, please subscribe to our mailing list on financing for sustainable development and crisis response.

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This interactive data tool uses near real-time data to let you track aid commitments and disbursements in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Use the three charts to see what aid commitments and disbursements[1] are being published by different donors (bilateral, international financial institutions and multilateral) to gain a real-time picture of trends in:

  • Overall commitments and disbursements
  • Poverty targeting
  • Sector targeting.

The tool uses data sourced from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Near real-time data from IATI is not curated and therefore open to changes as donors publish more recent information. This could result in changes to aspects of historical transactions as well as movement of transactions from one month to another.[2]

See our methodology section for more detail.

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Real-time aid flow tracker

The data in this tool is updated monthly. Currently the data shown covers January 2018–June 2021

Which aid flows are making up the majority of donor commitments and disbursements, by volume and proportion?


Are donors targeting aid towards countries with high rates of extreme poverty, low-income countries or the least developed countries, by volume and proportion?


Which sectors are donors prioritising, by volume and proportion?


To view this interactive visualisation make sure JavaScript is available on your device.

To view this interactive visualisation use a device with a larger screen.

  • The data tool contains three interactive charts, which you can see by moving between the tabs. The data visualisations are best viewed on a desktop in the Chrome browser.

    The controls above each chart allow you to manipulate different views of the data. You can then hover your cursor over (if on desktop) or tap (if on tablet or mobile) the bars to get more detail.

    Across all three of the data visualisations, you can:

    - Compare types of donors or view individual donors, using the switch under ‘Donors’

    a) If comparing types of donors, add or remove categories using the checkboxes

    b) If looking at individual donor, choose which donor you would like to see from the dropdown

    - View aid commitments or disbursements, using the dropdown under ‘Transaction’

    - View aid by volume or proportion, using the dropdown under ‘Measure’

    - Add or remove years, using the checkboxes under ‘Years’.

    The x-axis and y-axis will automatically adjust based on your selections.


    Within the ‘Flows’ visualisation you can also:

    - Add or remove flows, using the checkboxes under ‘Flows’.

    Poverty targeting

    Within the ‘Poverty targeting’ visualisation you can also:

    - View targeting of aid towards countries where a large percentage of the population live in extreme poverty, low-income countries or the least developed countries (LDCs), using the dropdown under ‘Poverty indicator’.

    a) If looking at rates of poverty, add or remove bandings for the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty using the checkboxes

    b) If looking at country income, add or remove income groupings using the checkboxes

    c) If looking at LDCs, add or remove LDCs or other countries using the checkboxes.

    Sector targeting

    Within the ‘Sector targeting’ visualisation you can also:

    - View targeting of aid towards specific sectors.

Last updated: 23 August 2021

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: IFI = International financial institution; LDCs = Least developed countries; ODA = Official development assistance; OOF = Other official flows.

Development Initiatives continues to publish a range of analysis and evidence on the impacts of Covid-19 on aid flows. You can receive updates on new resources and alerts when new data is added to our data tool if you subscribe to our work on financing for sustainable development and crisis response.

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Dataset title: Tracking aid flows in light of the Covid-19 crisis

Author: Dean Breed

Source: IATI

Timeframe: January 2018–June 2021

Geography: Global

License: Creative Commons Attribution BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license

Citation: Development Initiatives, August 2021. Tracking aid flows in light of the Covid-19 crisis. Available at: www.devinit.org/data/tracking-aid-flows-in-light-of-the-covid-19-crisis

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ODA – Official development assistance

OOF – Other official flows

IATI – International Aid Transparency Initiative

IFI – International financial institution

LDCs – Least developed countries

Glossary of key terms

Aid – In this context, all humanitarian and development assistance, including official development assistance, other official flows and any other development flows reported by official actors to the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Commitments – Amounts the donor is contracted to disburse.

Disbursements – Actual spend by donor in fulfilment of a contract.

Official development assistance – Defined by the OECD DAC.

Other official flows – Defined by the OECD DAC.

People living in extreme poverty – People living on less PPP$1.90 a day.

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This tracker analyses transactions published to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). A direct download was taken (on 23 August 2021) of all the data in the IATI registry. Each transaction was split by recipient and sector classifications to visualise aggregates of poverty targeting and sectoral priorities.

The data tool features a selected group of key bilateral donors, international financial institutions and multilateral institutions reporting to IATI. DI has assessed whether the data provided by these donors for both disbursements and commitments is usable or not.

The full list of donors included in this analysis are in Table A1.

This tracker is by necessity limited to the data that is published to a sufficient standard and in a timely fashion, and is not therefore a comprehensive picture of all donors. Despite this, IATI data has reached a sufficient level of quality and coverage to enable critical analysis of near real-time trends. Data such as that provided in our tracker provides a vital early warning system on current aid spending as donors seek to better respond to the challenges caused by Covid-19.

Some notable exclusions are:

  • UK FCDO (who do not provide commitment data for all activities)
  • Germany BMZ (who report total disbursement data for each activity on the latest transaction date)
  • France AFD (who report data on activities cumulatively).

In addition, this month’s update contains a number of temporary data gaps:

  • Data from Germany and the US has only been partially updated with comprehensive 2021 transactions
  • There are temporary publishing errors affecting all current African Development Bank transactions and some European Commission commitments.

Table A1: Key bilateral donors, IFIs and multilateral institutions used in the analysis of IATI disbursements and commitments

Institutions Disbursements Commitments
Bilateral donors
Australian Aid Yes No
Belgium – Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) Yes Yes
Canada – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Yes Yes
Denmark – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yes Yes
European Commission (EC) – Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid Yes Yes
EC – Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Yes Yes
EC – Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) Yes Yes
EC – European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) Yes Yes
EC – European Investment Bank (EIB) No Yes
Finland – Ministry for Foreign Affairs Yes No
Germany – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) No Yes
Germany – Federal Foreign Office Yes Yes
Netherlands – Enterprise Agency (RvO) Yes Yes
Netherlands – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) Yes Yes
New Zealand – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yes Yes
Norway – Norway Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) Yes Yes
Spain – Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) Yes Yes
Sweden – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) Yes Yes
Switzerland – Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Yes Yes
UK – British Council Yes Yes
UK – Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Yes Yes
UK – Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) Yes No
UK – Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Yes No
US – The Federal Government of the United States No Yes
US – US Agency for International Development (USAID) Yes Yes
International financial institutions (IFIs)
African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Yes Yes
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Yes Yes
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Yes Yes
International Finance Corporation (IFC) No Yes
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Yes Yes
Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Yes Yes
World Bank Yes Yes
Multilateral institutions
Global Fund Yes Yes
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Yes No
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Yes No
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Yes No
UN Population Fund (UNFPA) No Yes
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Yes Yes
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Yes No
Unitaid Yes Yes
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Yes Yes
UNOCHA – Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) Yes No
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Yes No
World Food Programme (WFP) Yes Yes

Source: Development Initiatives based on IATI.

Notes: IFI = international financial institution; IATI = International Aid Transparency Initiative.


  • 1

    Commitments are amounts the donor is contracted to disburse. Disbursements are actual spend by donor in fulfilment of a contract.

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  • 2

    This can be due, for example, to adjustments between operations and accounting departments, journal entries to deal with accrual accounting or cumulative reporting over a quarter.

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