ODA rose mainly due to donated COVID-19 vaccines.
Photo: ©ivanbrunom/Shutterstock

Foreign aid rose to all-time high

Official Development Assistance (ODA) rose during the last year, mainly due to additional support during the COVID-19 crisis, including donated COVID-19 vaccines.

Foreign aid from official donors rose to an all-time high of USD 179 billion in 2021, up 4.4 per cent in real terms from 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported in April 2022. 

Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2021 included USD 6.3 billion spent on providing COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, equivalent to 3.5 per cent of total ODA. Excluding ODA for donated COVID-19 vaccines, ODA was up 0.6 per cent in real terms from 2020.

DAC donors spent a total of USD 18.7 billion on COVID-19 related activities, accounting for 10.5 per cent of their combined net 2021 ODA – up from USD 16.6 billion or 10.2 per cent of total ODA in 2020.

The 2021 ODA total is equivalent to 0.33 per cent  of DAC donors’ combined gross national income (GNI), unchanged from 2020 and still below the UN target of 0.7 per cent ODA to GNI. Fluctuations in countries’ GNI levels due to the COVID-19 crisis will have affected the trend in that ratio since 2020. Five DAC members – Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden – met or exceeded the 0.7 per cent target in 2021.

ODA rose in 23 DAC countries in 2021, in many cases due to additional support for developing countries hit by the COVID-19 crisis. It fell in six countries. The largest increases were delivered by Italy (34.5%), Korea (+20.7%), Slovenia (+19.0%), Ireland (+14.8%), the United States (+14.4%), New Zealand (+13.8%), Spain (+12.5%), Japan (+12.1%) and Iceland (+11.7%).

Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 18.8 billion in 2021, up by 3.5 per cent in real terms compared to 2020. Debt relief remained low at USD 545 million. ODA spent on refugees hosted in donor countries were USD 9.3 billion in 2021, little changed in real terms from 2020 and representing 5.2 per cent of total ODA. ODA spent on these so-called in-donor refugee costs has nearly halved (in real terms) since it peaked at USD 16 billion in 2016, when it accounted for 11.0 per cent of total ODA.

(OECD/ile)

Read more at OECD website

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