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R package to download project information from AidData 3.0 API
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AidData for R

The AidData project makes available a wealth of information on development finance. At the core of their database lies the project-level information about development aid transfers. The aiddata package for R simplifies the access to this database directly from the R console.

To learn more about which donors are included in the database, visit the AidData User Guide.


I'd love to get your feedback / comments / complaints about the package. I'm tracking all the bugs and recommendations with GitHub Issues, so feel free to open a new issue if anything comes to your mind.


aiddata is not (yet) published on CRAN. It needs to be installed directly from GitHub, using devtools:

install_github("felixhaass/aiddata", dependencies = TRUE)


aiddata is a set of functions that are wrapped around httr functions to access and download data from the AidData API.

The main functions are:

  • get_aid(): Download project-level information for one or more countries in a given time period.
  • get_gis(): Download geographic point information for a subset of aid projects (not all aid projects are geo-coded)
  • browse_aid(): Open browser page with detailed project information for a single project.



get_aid() takes as input an ISO-2 character string of recipient or donor country and start and end years. It downloads information on all aid projects in the given recipient or from the given donor. If both recipient and donor are provided, the resulting aid projects represent information on aid flows in the recipient-donor dyad.

ISO-2 codes for donors and recipient can be obtained with the countrycode package.

# Get all aid projects to Angola from 1990 to 1995
result <- get_aid(rec = "AO", start = 1990, end = 1995)

# Get all aid projects to Uganda from Germany in 1990
result <- get_aid(rec = "UG", donor = "DE", start = 1990, end = 1990)

Further information about the get_aid function is available through ?get_aid.


get_gis() also takes as input an ISO-2 character string of recipient or donor country and start and end years. It downloads point information on the geolocation of aid projects in the given country (or from the given donor, or both). The function also obtains project information for these points, using get_aid, if the option = TRUE.

Be aware that only a fraction of aid projects is geo-referenced and that the number of projects that are geo-referenced vary by country and year. get_gis downloads all aid projects in the given year(s) and countries and subsets those projects for which point information is available.

# Get point & project information for aid projects in Kenya from 2010 to 2011
result <- get_gis(rec = "KE", start = 2010, end = 2011, = TRUE)

# Get point & project information for aid projects in Nepal from from 2006 to 2011 
# (many projects,  so this may take some time)
result <- get_gis(rec = "NP", start = 2006, end = 2011, = TRUE)

The resulting point information can be easily plotted with R's excellent geo-visualization tools. The following example plots all aid projects with geo-referenced information in Nepal in 2007. One point represents one aid project. Since the points are partially transparent, the dark red areas represent overlapping points, meaning they have more aid projects than the light red ones.


result <- get_gis(rec = "NP", start = 2007, end = 2007)

nepal_admin <- getData('GADM', country = "NPL", level = 2)
result_spatial <- SpatialPointsDataFrame(result[, c("lat", "long")], result)

ggplot(fortify(nepal_admin), aes(x = long, y = lat)) + 
  geom_point(data = data.frame(coordinates(result_spatial)), 
             aes(long, lat), alpha = .2, color = "red", size = 2) +
  geom_path(aes(group = group)) +
  ggtitle("Aid Projects in Nepal in 2007\n") + 
  coord_equal() +
  theme_bw() +
  theme(line = element_blank())

plot of chunk unnamed-chunk-5


browse_project takes as input the project_id given by get_aid and opens a browser window/tab with detailed information on the project from the AidData website. Example:

# Open browser window for project 800000048457
You can’t perform that action at this time.