Gates Foundation Earns 'Very Poor' Scores on Transparency

Oct 28, 2013

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should be more transparent about its aid spending in developing countries, according to an advocacy group that tracks international aid organizations.

The group Publish What You Fund ranked the Gates Foundation 43rd out of 67 humanitarian agencies in transparency. The agency earned scores noted as “very poor” in the aid transparency index report for failing to publish their spending in a useful and timely manner.

David Hall-Matthews, director of Publish What You Fund, says transparency can impact decisions made by developing countries and the donors who fund them. He says more accountability ensures dollars are used wisely in poor countries. 

“The last thing you want is to have USAID planning to build a school in a district, and then turning up and discovering that the German government has decided to build a school in the same district,” he said. “And so they need to plan better and if they both publish their information, that makes that job easier.”

In light of the report, Hall-Matthews the Gates Foundation has agreed to start presenting data in a standardized, user-friendly format. 

The campaign for aid transparency, now in its fifth year, is part of a broader global movement for more open government.