ODA at a Record High in 2016 as Aid to Poorest Countries Decreased
By admin April 26, 2017

Photo by: Mohammad Yearuzzaman


The year 2016 set a record in foreign assistance with USD $142.6 billion allocated to Development aid. This is almost nine percent more than in 2015. Despite these encouraging numbers, the recent data from the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) shows that bilateral aid to the poorest countries actually decreased by nearly four percent.

While these numbers may seem to contradict themselves, the total increase in Development aid is, for the most part, explained by the increased aid allocated for hosting refugees in donor countries. For some countries, members of the DAC, the refugee-hosting budget represented over to 20 percent of their annual Official Development Assistance (ODA).

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría expressed concern that aid to poorest countries was in decline and that recent signals from some donor countries on future aid levels should be the subject of concern. General Angel Gurría also commended the commitment of some donor countries of the DAC to increase their efforts towards development aid in the least developed countries but insisted that these commitments must turn into action.

The challenge that rises from this issue is the need to better understand where money is going and what contributions should be included in foreign aid. The DAC, a forum structure of the OECD, serves as a platform to discuss development aid and poverty reduction, currently counts 30 members, including the European Union (EU). This forum is currently working on ways to make the ODA more transparent in order to avoid donor countries counting spending, such as those on refugees, as development aid. The EU has already taken the initiative of distinguishing domestic aid for refugees and ODA, as it outlined in a recent press release that:

“In 2016, faced with an unprecedented migration crisis, the EU and its Member States were able to increase both their support to refugees as well as their ‘development aid’ to developing countries. The overall increase in European Union Official Development Assistance, with €7.6 billion, was greater than the surge in in-donor refugee costs €1.9 billion. Only 25% of the growth of EU Collective ODA between 2015 and 2016 was due to in-country refugee costs, hence, there was growth in ODA, even if these costs are excluded”

The United Nations has a set target spending of 0.7 percent of a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) on foreign aid. A target that Germany, for example, met last year for the first time

DAC Chair, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, also argued that while providing humanitarian aid and spending on refugees was extremely important, so was maintaining financing of long-term development programs in the poorest countries. Indeed, ODA represents two thirds of financial aid for the poorest countries of the world, and a more efficient use of these resources to promote economic development would contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


Read More:

OECD- Development aid rises in 2016 but flows to poorest countries dip

DAC Members

ReliefWeb- Aid Spending by DAC in 2016

European Union – ODA in 2016

Devex: OECD reaches record high development assistance

Thanks for sharing !

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