Three-Year Anniversary of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act

Office of the Spokesperson

A little over three years ago, Congress passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA), a milestone in the U.S. government’s effort to bring evidence to bear in support of its diplomatic and development priorities.

U.S. foreign assistance provides a powerful return on investment for U.S. taxpayers. Foreign assistance investments protect U.S. citizens, increase American prosperity by growing opportunities for U.S. businesses in the international development space, and support our allies and partners.

Luckily, we are far from alone in distributing foreign assistance.  In 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee provided roughly $153 billion in official development assistance.  That figure includes funds heading to the same sectors of the same countries—at the same time.  Whether such overlapping efforts yield their desired impact is not always clear.  What is clear, however, is the need for greater coordination and burden-sharing among the world’s billion-dollar donors.  It is also clear that U.S. agencies need to provide transparent, easy-to-understand data to the American taxpayers who fund U.S. foreign assistance programs.

FATAA is helping lay the groundwork for these efforts, and the Department of State is hard at work advancing the country’s transparency and accountability goals.  The law requires U.S. agencies programming foreign assistance to closely monitor and evaluate the extent to which their projects are achieving U.S. policy objectives.  Importantly, the law requires these agencies to publish their transactions on, giving U.S. decision-makers the foreign assistance data they need to match resources to strategy.  Before FATAA, 10 agencies were reporting roughly $115 billion in transactions across available years. Today, there are 21 agencies reporting four times that amount.

That difference is important to the Department of State’s vision for U.S. diplomacy.  In advancing aid transparency, is helping build a data ecosystem to improve Department decision-making and, with it, position the United States to better discern when, where, and with whom to share the burdens of promoting democratic change and preserving global stability.

The Department is committed to the cause of aid transparency and fiscal accountability, and it joins its interagency partners in continuing the efforts that FATAA has encouraged.

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