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The UK’s support to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)

ICAI review


Independent Commission for Aid Impact

IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing zero or low-interest loans and grants for programmes that aim to boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve people’s living conditions. It provides loans and grants to countries with low average income levels or countries that are not eligible to receive funding from the World Bank’s other lending body, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

IDA is one of the most important multilateral channels of development assistance for the world’s poorest countries, and it is the single largest source of official development assistance (ODA) overall to Africa. In 2019 IDA disbursed $10.6 billion in Africa, approximately equal to the amount of aid from France, Germany and the UK combined.

The purpose of this review was to assess both the value for money of the UK’s substantial financial contribution to IDA and how well the UK uses its position as the largest bilateral donor to shape its policies and operations.

This review, which was awarded a green-amber score, finds that UK aid channelled through the World Bank instrument for the poorest and most fragile countries provides good value for money, but the UK could do more to advocate for improvements, such as a stronger focus on climate action, increased accountability for the ‘leave no one behind’ commitment, and compliance with agreed standards for environmental and social protection.

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