Monday, 15 October 2018
SHINING THE LIGHT ON AID IN THE PACIFIC – LAUNCHING THE LOWY INSTITUTE’S INAUGURAL PACIFIC AID MAP
The Lowy Institute has launched a major new data-driven digital interactive, the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map, which takes aid transparency in the Pacific to the next level.
Foreign aid is an important resource for the Pacific Islands region, but public information on aid is often lacking. This reduces the effectiveness of aid, making it difficult to coordinate aid efforts, challenging to align aid with Pacific country priorities, and harder for donors to learn from each other and from the past.
The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map is an analytical tool designed to enhance aid effectiveness in the Pacific by improving coordination, alignment, and accountability of foreign aid. The interactive collects data on almost 13,000 projects in 14 countries from 62 donors from 2011 onwards. This raw data has been made freely available on an interactive multifaceted platform, allowing users to examine and manipulate the information in a variety of ways.
Key results from the inaugural edition of the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map, consolidating data from 2011 to 2016, are:
- Australia remains the Pacific’s most important provider of aid. Despite cuts to the broader aid budget, the Pacific has been insulated and now makes up one third of Australia’s aid program. Together, Australia and New Zealand are responsible for more than half (55%) of all aid to the Pacific region.
- The narrative of Chinese aid dominance in the Pacific Islands is overstated. China has only invested 8% of all aid to the Pacific over this period, though it has committed a lot more. China does operate distinctly, focusing on status projects and infrastructure lending that inflate its presence in the region. The average project size from Australia and New Zealand is one tenth that of China.
- Competition between China and Taiwan remains heated. China has invested $108 per capita in the seven countries that support it. Taiwan has invested $120 per capita in the six countries that support it. The average project size of Taiwan is 3% that of China.
- Aid to the Pacific is in decline, having shrunk by 20% between 2011 and 2016. The US, EU, and France, all valuable donors to the region, have significantly reduced their assistance.
- The Asian Development Bank and World Bank are honouring their commitments to scale-up their investment in the Pacific, with more to come as they aim to triple investments over the next five years. Together they account for more aid to the region than China.
Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute, said: “Like the Global Diplomacy Index and the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index before it, the Pacific Aid Map is an ambitious Lowy Institute research product that uses digital technology to illuminate huge amounts of data. I am confident that the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map will help make international aid to the Pacific more transparent and effective. And it continues the Institute’s tradition of conducting important work on the Pacific Islands region.”
You can click on this link to access the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid map.
The Lowy Institute acknowledges and appreciates the support of the Australian aid program in funding this initiative.