ODA in 2010
In 2010, net official development assistance (ODA) flows from members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD reached USD 128.7 billion, representing an increase of +6.5 % over 2009. This is the highest real ODA level ever, surpassing even the volume provided in 2005 which was boosted by exceptional debt relief. Net ODA as a share of gross national income (GNI) was 0.32%, equal to 2005, and higher than any other year since 1992 (see Table 1 and Chart 1).
Bilateral aid for core development programmes and projects (i.e. excluding debt relief grants and humanitarian aid) rose by +5.9% over 2009 (see Chart 2). New lending (+13.2%) increased faster than grants (+6.8%).
Online dynamic graphics
Net ODA - ODA/GNI
Bilateral ODA to Africa was USD 29.3 billion, of which USD 26.5 billion was for sub-Saharan Africa. These amounts represent an increase in real terms of +3.6% and +6.4% respectively over 2009. However, excluding debt relief grants, bilateral ODA fell very slightly (-0.1%) for Africa but rose (+1.7%) for sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2010, the largest donors by volume were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden continued to exceed to United Nations ODA target of 0.7% of GNI. The largest increases in real terms in ODA between 2009 and 2010 were recorded by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Korea, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
The United States continued to be the largest single donor with net ODA disbursements of USD 30.2 billion, representing an increase of +3.5% in real terms over 2009. This is the highest real level of ODA ever recorded by a single donor country, except for 2005, when the US gave exceptional debt relief to Iraq. US ODA as a per cent of GNI remained unchanged at 0.21%. Its bilateral ODA to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rose to a record USD 9.4 billion, representing an increase of +16.2% over 2009. Much of this increase was accounted for by the US response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake (aid to Haiti rose +241% to USD 1.1 billion). Among non-LDCs, aid to Pakistan rose especially sharply (+126% to USD 1.4 billion), reflecting increased disbursements across many sectors.
ODA from the fifteen EU countries that are members of the DAC rose by +6.7% in 2010 to reach USD 70.2 billion, representing 54% of total net ODA provided by DAC donors. It also represented 0.46% of DAC-EU GNI, up from 0.44% in 2009. This was well above the overall DAC average of 0.32%. ODA rose or fell in DAC-EU members as follows:
- Austria (+8.8%), due mainly to grants for debt forgiveness;
- Belgium (+19.1%), due to debt forgiveness grants and an increase in bilateral grants;
- Denmark (+4.3%), as it increased its bilateral grants;
- Finland (+6.9%), due to an increase in bilateral grants;
- France (+7.3%), mostly due to an increase in bilateral lending;
- Germany (+9.9%), as it increased its bilateral lending;
- Greece (-16.2%), due to unprecedented fiscal constraints;
- Ireland (-4.9%), due to fiscal constraints;
- Italy (-1.5%);
- Luxembourg (-0.3%);
- Netherlands (+2.2%);
- Portugal (+31.5%), mainly due to increased bilateral lending;
- Spain (-5.9%), due to budgetary pressures;
- Sweden (-7.1%), though Sweden continues to allocate approximately 1 % of its GNI to ODA;
- United Kingdom (+19.4%), reflecting the continuing scaling up of its aid programme.
Grants to developing countries and multilateral organisations from EU Institutions rose by +0.8% to USD 13.0 billion.
ODA by Japan was USD 11.0 billion, representing an increase in real terms of +11.8% over 2009. Japan’s ODA as a share of GNI rose from 0.18% in 2009 to 0.20% in 2010. The increase was mainly due to larger bilateral grants to LDCs as well as a major contribution to the World Bank.
Net ODA rose or fell in other DAC countries as follows:
- Australia (+12.1%), due to an increase in grants to Least Developed Countries;
- Canada (+12.7%), due to an increase in bilateral grants and larger contributions to the World Bank;
- Korea (+25.7%), as it further scaled up its aid programme;
- New Zealand (-3.9%), however the under-spent budget from 2009-10 is being rolled forward and will be available to be spent up until June 2012;
- Norway (+3.6%), mainly due to increasing efforts to promote clean energy and reduce deforestation;
- Switzerland (-4.5%), due to reduced debt relief; however, Switzerland now has a firm ODA target of 0.5% of GNI by 2015.
In 2010, gross ODA (i.e. without deducting loan repayments) amounted to USD 141.3 billion, representing an increase in real terms of 6.3% over 2009. The largest donors were the United States, Japan, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (see Table 2).
Non-DAC OECD economies provided net ODA flows as follows:
- Czech Republic (+4.6%);
- Estonia (+4.7);
- Hungary (-2.2%);
- Iceland (-22.6%);
- Israel (+12.4%);
- Poland (-4.1%);
- Slovak Republic (+2.7%);
- Slovenia (-7.4%);
- Turkey (+23.8%), as it scaled up its aid programme.
How well were the pledges made in 2005 kept?
In 2005, at the Gleneagles (G8) Summit and other fora , donors made specific commitments to increase their ODA. When quantified by the OECD Secretariat, the pledges implied raising DAC ODA from about USD 80 billion to nearly USD 130 billion (in 2004 prices).
Also, in 2005, the fifteen members of the EU that are DAC members committed to reach an ambitious minimum ODA target of 0.51% of their GNI in 2010. The following countries surpassed that goal: Belgium (0.64%), Denmark (0.90%), Finland (0.55%), Ireland (0.53%), Luxembourg (1.09%), the Netherlands (0.81%), Sweden (0.97%) and the United Kingdom (0.56%). France nearly met the goal with an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.50% while others fell short: Austria (0.32%), Germany (0.38%), Greece (0.17%), Italy (0.15%), Portugal (0.29%) and Spain (0.43%).
Other DAC members made various promises for 2010 that were met. The United States pledged to double its aid to sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2010 and surpassed this goal in 2009, a year early. Canada aimed to double its International Assistance Envelope compared to 2001, and did so. Australia aimed to reach $A 4 billion and achieved this. Norway surpassed its commitment to maintain ODA as a per cent of GNI at 1%, and Switzerland met its commitment to meet an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.41%.
At the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005, Japan pledged to increase aid related to the period from 2005 to 2009. Japan’s performance against this pledge was covered in last year’s report. It is noted that Japan’s ODA rose significantly in 2010.
New Zealand plans to achieve an ODA level of $NZ 600 million by 2012-13 and appears on track to meet this.
Korea was not a DAC donor in 2005 and made no promises then to increase its aid; however, since 2005 its aid programme has increased in real terms by +56%.
The combined effect of the increases has been to raise ODA by 37 per cent in real terms since 2004, or about USD 30 billion (in 2004 dollars). However, when comparing the 2010 ODA outcome with the promises made in 2005, this still represented a shortfall of about USD 19 billion. Only a little over USD 1 billion of the shortfall can be attributed to lower than expected GNI levels due to the economic crisis. The remaining gap of USD 18 billion was due to donors that that did not meet their ODA commitments.
At Gleneagles, G8 donors also envisaged an increase in total ODA to Africa of USD 25 billion. However, preliminary estimates show that Africa only received an additional USD 11 billion. This shortfall is larger in percentage terms than the shortfall in total ODA. The main reason is the poor performance of several of the donors that provide large shares of their aid to Africa.
In an effort to ensure that future aid targets and pledges are clear, realistic and attainable, the DAC has recently approved a Recommendation on Good Pledging Practice. This is designed to help all donors improve their pledging practice and enhance accountability and transparency.
Aid beyond 2010
The OECD has just completed the fourth comprehensive survey of donors’ future spending plans which provides an indication of the collective forward programming of bilateral and multilateral donors through 2013.
Preliminary findings based on DAC members’ returns to the forward spending survey suggest slower aid growth ahead. Global country programmable aid (CPA - see note) is planned to grow at a real rate of 2% per year from 2011 to 2013, compared to 8% per year on average over the past three years. For DAC countries’ bilateral aid only, the projected increase is slightly lower at 1.3% per year.
The deceleration is likely to be more marked for low income countries and for Africa, where CPA is projected to increase at about 1% per year in real terms, compared to a 13% annual growth rate in the past three years. Thus, additional aid to these countries is likely to be outpaced by population increases.
The DAC is developing illustrative aid scenarios for the next few years as a number of donors do have aid targets, notably the EU target of at least 0.7% of GNI for the 15 EU members of the DAC and 0.33% for other EU members in 2015, along with the commitment of the EU and its member states to reach a collective target of 0.7% in 2015.
This document is based on OECD members' responses to an advanced questionnaire on main ODA aggregates. Data may be subject to revision.
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Note: CPA is a core subset of ODA and excludes non-programmable items such as humanitarian aid, debt relief, and in-donor costs like administrative costs and refugees in donor countries.
Development: Aid increases, but with worrying trends
50 years of official development assistance
International Development Statistics (IDS) online databases