African Development Bank and AidData map development projects: Increasing aid transparency for greater development impact’

June 9, 2011
Andrea Calabrese
Aid Effectiveness & Management, Open Data


Lisbon and Washington, DC—June 9, 2011— At its Annual Meetings, being held from June 9-10 in Lisbon, the African Development Bank Group unveiled an interactive map showing the precise locations of its ongoing operations in Cameroon, Morocco, and Tanzania ( These countries represent a subset of the 2,040 activities financed across the continent since 2009. The map is the result of a partnership between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and AidData ( to geocode AfDB projects, which range from building primary schools, health clinics, and roads to support for local institutions and entrepreneurs, and other initiatives.

"The map makes it easy to see where the Bank is working," says Simon Mizrahi, Manager of the AfDB’s Results and Quality Assurance Department. "Not just in which countries, but in which regions or towns. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to efficiently translate information which existed primarily in long documents into a simple visual tool for decision makers and the public at large to quickly understand what we do, and where. This is a critical step toward being able to ask the right questions about whether aid is going to the right places and what impact it has."

To create the map, a team of researchers from AidData identified the latitude and longitude of the location(s) where each project is being implemented. They used a geocoding methodology developed jointly by AidData and Uppsala University in Sweden, available at, which can be adapted for use by different types of organizations. After project locations were identified, dynamic maps for the web and mobile devices were created in partnership with Esri.

"Geocoding takes discussions about aid from the abstract to the concrete," says Jean-Louis Sarbib, CEO of Development Gateway, which manages the AidData program jointly with the College of William and Mary and Brigham Young University. "It allows you to assess whether aid is targeted to the areas that need it the most, and whether it is having an impact on key measures like immunization and school enrollment rates. As other donors begin geocoding their work as well, it will be possible to get an even more complete picture of where there may be overlap or gaps in the coverage of development programs."

The availability of geocoded project data will help the AfDB to evaluate progress and plan future initiatives to combat challenges in areas such as climate change, infrastructure, governance, and private sector development. Opening up this information will allow others to better understand where aid is going, and to provide feedback on its impact.


About the African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s mission is to help reduce poverty, improve living conditions for Africans and mobilize resources for the continent’s economic and social development. With this objective in mind, the institution aims at assisting African countries—individually and collectively—in their efforts to achieve sustainable economic development and social progress. Combating poverty is at the heart of the continent’s efforts to attain sustainable economic growth. To this end, the Bank seeks to stimulate and mobilize internal and external resources to promote investments as well as provide its regional member countries with technical and financial assistance.

About AidData

AidData is a collaborative initiative to provide products and services that promote the dissemination, analysis, and understanding of development finance information. At the core of the AidData program is the AidData database, which is a gateway to nearly 1 million records of development finance activities from donors around the world. In addition, the AidData team works with a range of partners to geocode development activities, create data visualizations, and explore new ways to collect and standardize information about development projects. AidData is a joint program of Brigham Young University, the College of William and Mary, and Development Gateway.

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, Esri applications provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis via complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms.

Press Information

Contact: Emily Kallaur, Development Gateway

Tel: 202-572-9227


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