AidData is a research lab at the Global Research Institute at The College of William & Mary in Virginia. AidData uses the methodologies of geocoding, Geospatial Impact Evaluations (GIE), Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) coding and Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) with the goal of helping policymakers make more informed decisions. Their resources include their own datasets and replication datasets, as well as tools to create customized datasets through the Project Level Aid dashboard and the Geospatial Data tool, GeoQuery.

*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the AidData website.

Available data file formats



This is an open data source that is for public use.


How to retrieve data by example


Suppose you wish to obtain data on aid given from one country or region to another. Specifically, you wish to see in what ways China has given financial aid to places in Africa over time. You would like the data in a CSV file, which can be read into Excel.


  • Go to the AidData website and click on Data at the top of the page.
  • You should now be on the Data and Tools page. In the field that says Search Titles and Descriptions, search China to Africa.
  • As of now, two results appear. You decide to look at the most recent dataset and click on the first result titled AidData's Chinese Official Finance to Africa Dataset, 2000-13, Version 1.2. The new page should have a summary of the data, an official citation, the metadata on the right-hand side of the screen and full description at the bottom. Clicking on Download gives you a .zip file that contains several documents, including a folder of metadata files and a folder with the raw data in multiple CSV files.

You should now have access to financial aid data from China to Africa for the years 2000-13 in the form of a CSV file.

Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For this scenario, the citation is listed on the dataset page and would be:

Strange, Austin M., Axel Dreher, Andreas Fuchs, Bradley Parks, and Michael J. Tierney. 2017. Tracking Underreported Financial Flows: China’s Development Finance and the Aid–Conflict Nexus Revisited. Journal of Conflict Resolution 61 (5): 935-963.