International foreign aid drops 0.6%, says OECD

10 Apr 18

Foreign aid from official donors totalled $146.6bn in 2017, a decrease of 0.6% from 2016 in real terms, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has reported.

But it said this change arose from lower spending on refugees inside donor countries while more funds went to the countries most in need of aid, . 

Disregarding spending on refugees inside donor countries, net overseas development aid was up by 1.1% from 2016 in real terms.

Costs for refugees in donor countries were 9.7% of total net overseas aid, down from 11% in 2016.

Country-to-country aid to least-developed countries increased by 4% in real terms to $26bn, with aid to Africa increasing by 3% to $29bn, of which $25bn went to sub-Saharan Africa.

Overseas aid spending rose in 11 countries over the year, with the largest increases in France, Italy, Japan and Sweden.

Conversely, it fell in 18 countries - often due to a decline in refugee arrivals, with the largest declines seen in Australia, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, chair of the OECD development assistance committee, said: “I am encouraged to see a rise in [aid] being spent in least-developed countries and I would like to call on members to continue this effort.

“We should always be aiming to invest overseas development aid for long-term purposes in countries most in need, and be cautious in using it for loans to middle-income countries.”

Five countries that are members of the committee met the target of spending at least 0.7% of gross national income on aid. These were: Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Among non-members the best performers was the United Arab Emirates at 1.31%.

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