We spoke to Frederick Krah at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning about how IATI data is being used by the Liberian Government.
What is your role?
I am the Director of the Aid Management and Coordination Unit. My role is to coordinate bilateral and multilateral partners and develop sound policies and programmes for the management and procurement of external resources.
What are you views on aid transparency?
The Government of Liberia (GoL) is very committed to development cooperation transparency; for this reason it established the Aid Management and Coordination Unit. Since 2009, the Unit has been publishing ODA (Official Development Assistance) reports for Liberia with the help of other actors in the aid effectiveness environment, especially IATI.
When did you start using IATI data?
In my role, I started using IATI data in 2014 during the outbreak of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. After the President called the first meeting on the issue, we gathered IATI data related to Ebola and used it to monitor contributions and cross-check assistance with in-country offices on a case-by-case basis.
Why is IATI data useful in your work?
IATI data is used to complement and complete my locally collected data. It is very helpful because it provides a realistic picture of most, if not all external resources available to Liberia.
After downloading IATI data we align it with our development strategy and follow up with in-country office donors for validation and confirmation. With this verified data we are able to publish our official quarterly and annual ODA reports, which we share with many important stakeholders. For example, the Central Bank of Liberia, the Legislature and the Department of Budget and Macro-fiscal Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
How else is IATI data used?
IATI data supports the GoL in the preparation of its macroeconomic framework, national budget preparation and increases transparency and accountability of ODA to Liberia. The data also helps to inform the national Legislature about donors operating in their constituencies.
We also share our entire data set with Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) economists, as it supports the production of Liberia’s Balance of Payments.
Do you have any advice to countries considering using IATI data?
I recommend other countries use IATI data in the context of the aid data collection process. It helps to provide more realistic information and makes your analysis more credible. IATI data also provides an opportunity to find funding information about donors who are not stationed in your country, and provides a good basis to build communication links with them. I think it is advisable to always cross-check the data with donors on the ground before publication.
Do you have any difficulties using IATI data?
Not with the IATI system, but we could benefit from help to cross-check IATI data with donors that do not have an office in Liberia, as we require sign-off from all donors before we use or publish their data.
What are your future plans regarding IATI?
The Government of Liberia is anticipating upgrading its Aid Management Platform (AMP) with the IATI import module, so that we can bring IATI data into our own systems and look at it alongside our existing data. We’re also engaging again as a member of IATI and participating in meetings of the initiative.