OGD: USAID’s missing data


One of USAID’s high value data sets on US economic and military assistance aka the Greenbook cannot be accessed on data.gov/ogd. Unfortunately, the source of the broken link is coming from the USAID website.

The other USAID’s high value data sets are already available online in different formats, such as the funding for trade capacity building activities (TCB) data.

On it’s site, users can choose to search the TCB funding database by regions and countries, U.S. agency and TCB category over a ten year period and view the data in html or download it in an excel spreadsheet. Whereas, the data available on data.gov/ogd only shows the total US government assistance (compared to US Aid assisted funding online) by regions and countries from 1999 – 2008.

Countries are divided by TCB categories such as the sum of WTO agreements, human resources and labor standard, competition policy and foreign investment and governance/transparency and inter-agency coordination. Online you can find more detailed sub categories of WTO agreements, trade facilitation and services trade development.

Since, Sunlight Foundation focuses on our government’s transparency, I decided to look at that category in the context of US open trade. Kyrgyzstan received the most government assistance when it came to governance/transparency with about $2,360,000 followed by Kazakhstan which received about $ 3,000,000 and China received $1,770,000. Make of it what you will.

For people involved in Haiti relief work, it’s interesting to look at how much the US contributed towards physical infrastructure or financial sector development prior to the earthquake to compare it to what it’ll receive in the upcoming years. FYI, it only has two years of data for physical infrastructure, the most recent is in 2005 where Haiti received $962,500 and in 1999, it received $1,500,000.

The second USAID high value data set is the Official Development Assistant listed by country, activity type and implementing agency for 2007 and 2008. The most money was spent by USAID on administrative costs of $923,507.465 thousand in 2008. Iraq received the most aid of about 388529.131 thousand from the Army in 2008 for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program.

Development assistant data is available online and you can narrow your requests to recipient country assistance by sector and agency and it downloads in an rtf file. However, I prefer the downloadable CSV file on data.gov because you can spot interesting trends easier. For example, if you sort the 2008 aid, you’ll notice a lot negative balances but the data doesn’t provide any explanations of it. Egypt has the largest repayment toward the Department of Agriculture of about $120,071.411 thousand.