Transparency and Development


  • Karolina Gombert



Today, many organisations in the development sector stress a link from transparency to “improved accountability, increased aid effectiveness and better value for money” (Beech, 2011, “Aid Transparency: The future of Aid is changing”). In particular, the Aid Transparency Movement, which emerged with the High Level Forum on Harmonization in 2003, is meant to improve the effectiveness of official aid. As this Movement and the first ‘Open Data for Development’ conference held in Amsterdam in May 2011 convey, the issue of transparency for development opens up a new sphere for critical thought on alternative approaches to development aid and on the conception of development as such. The development sector currently witnesses a momentum prone to change of aid practices triggered by the “new global standard” of what they call ‘aid transparency’ (ibid.). Aid Transparency is the presumed key to achieve aid effectiveness and correspondingly better development results. Moreover, some development workers suggest that aid transparency could revolutionize development in the sense of dissociating any negative perception of development and endow the concept with a positive connotation instead. Against this background, this article poses the question, does aid transparency really make aid more effective and revolutionize development?


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