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Official Development Assistance to the Water Sector



From commitments to disbursements








ODA for water commitments are slowly disbursed


As shown in the figure below, the commitments made in 1990-1991 by France, Germany and Japan were disbursed following a very slow pace. The peak in disbursements occurred between 2 and 6 years after the original commitments. This is not necessarily negative as this situation can also reflect long-term scheduled disbursements. However, it would be necessary to check the planned disbursements of the 1990-91 commitments and confront them to the effective disbursements. In 2004, only 1419 millions of USD out of 1646 committed in 1990-1991 were disbursed.

ODA for water committed in 1990-91 by France, Germany and Japan: cumulative disbursements


There is thus a several years’ lag between commitments and disbursements. It could therefore be expected that disbursements of aid for water will decrease in the next few years to reflect the low levels of ODA for water at the beginning of the 2000s. (See figure : “ODA commitments for water between 1992 and 2004")


Commitments are not always fully disbursed


If we consider the state of the commitments made by France, Germany and Japan at the beginning of the 1990s (for which we can consider that the projects financed have been finalized) we can observe that the commitments made were not fully disbursed.

Rate of execution of ODA commitments for water from France, Germany and Japan between 1990 and 2004: amount disbursed in percent of original commitment




Donor countries had difficulty to provide data on disbursements for aid activities, especially for grants. It is only recently that the situation has started to change when it has become technically easier for donors to report oln this data. Since the year 2002, we can consider that data coverage for disbursements is complete. To make some analysis on previous years, data for France, Germany and Japan can be used since longer data series are available and France , Germany and Japan account for over a half of total bilateral aid for water.






Data on disbursements must be interpreted carefully. As there is always some lag between commitments and disbursements, it’s difficult to compare commitments and disbursements. It would be necessary to have disbursement data for several years to draw general conclusions about the implementation of the projects in the water sector. Besides, this analysis of ODA disbursements was carried out with data in dollars while disbursements are made in local currency.

However, the analysis of disbursements to the water sector proved interesting.