Development finance standards

Official Development Assistance (ODA)


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Official development assistance (ODA) is defined as government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The DAC adopted ODA as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and it remains the main source of financing for development aid. ODA data is collected, verified and made publicly available by the OECD.

ODA data and trends 2021

Official development assistance (ODA) from official donors rose to an all-time high of USD 178.9 billion in 2021, up 4.4% in real terms from 2020 as developed countries stepped up to help developing countries grappling with the COVID-19 crisis.

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% of total ODA. Excluding ODA for donated COVID-19 vaccines, ODA was up 0.6% in real terms from 2020.

The 2021 ODA total is equivalent to 0.33% of DAC donors’ combined gross national income (GNI) and still below the UN target of 0.7% ODA to GNI.

Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 18.8 billion. Debt relief remained low at USD 545 million. ODA spent on refugees hosted in donor countries were USD 9.3 billion in 2021

Final ODA figures for 2021 flows with a detailed geographic and sectoral breakdown are released at the end of the year.

Key resources:

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Final data 2020

OECD statistics are the only source of official, verified and comparable data on aid. See final detailed data including all individual project level data for 2020.

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What is ODA?

Official development assistance (ODA) flows to countries and territories on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral development institutions are:

i. Provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies; and

ii. Concessional (i.e. grants and soft loans) and administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective.

The DAC list of countries eligible to receive ODA is updated every three years and is based on per capita income.

Military aid and promotion of donors' security interests are not ODA.

Do not miss our Frequently asked questions on official development assistance (ODA).

Find out more

    • Untying Official Development Assistance

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    • Covid-19 vaccines and official development assistance

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    • Climate-related Official Development Assistance (ODA) — A snapshot

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