Demo: Comparing US-USAID and UK-DFID Global Foreign Aid

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  • name: Demo: Comparing US-USAID and UK-DFID Global Foreign Aid

live demo here


Facts about this Demonstration

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Technical Highlights

This application presents a mashup of foreign aid data (represented in US Dollars) from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the 2007 US Fiscal Year. Users may retrieve foreign aid data for specific countries by clicking on a provided world map (shaded based on total combined contributions for USAID and DFID). Upon clicking on a desired country, three kinds of information are presented:

  • Aid Figures - These are broken into three categories, each presented through a pie chart: a comparison of total USAID and DFID spending, a breakdown of USAID spending by category, and a breakdown of DFID spending by category.
  • News Articles - These are retrieved through the New York Times Article Search API. For an article to be listed, it must have the selected country's name in the title and must contain the word "aid".
  • DBPedia - Information from a selected country's DBPedia entry.

Rationale for Provenance

To effectively compare DFID figures with those from USAID, two conditions had to be met. First, as the US and UK use different currencies, conversion from Pound Sterling to US Dollars was required for DFID figures. Second, as DFID data was reported based on the UK fiscal year, conversion of figures to the US Fiscal Year was required. These conditions ensure that figures are represented according to a common fiscal unit and time frame, respectively. However, as manipulations to official DFID figures were required, the authoritative power of this data is possibly diminished. As such, this application presents a compelling case study for the use of provenance in tracking alterations to government data needed for mashup purposes.

Note on exchange rate used

The exchange rate (1.96867 USD to 1 GBP) was obtained from On this page,

  • Set duration to year (returns yearly exchange rates)
  • Set starting date to Oct 2006, and end date to Sep 2007 (since demo figures are based off the 2007 US Fiscal Year)
  • Set base currency to GBP, and quote currency to USD
  • Used the standard interbank rate

Doing this produces two figures: a bid rate (how many dollars you get when selling pounds), and an ask rate (how much it takes to buy one pound). The demo currently uses the bid rate.

Note on incorporating country 2-letter codes

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