Development finance topics

Countries most in need


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The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is committed to supporting countries in need, particularly towards their achievement of sustainable development practices. Certain countries are considered more vulnerable based on their economic, geographic, political, and societal hurdles. The DAC has categorised countries by the following: Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Fragile Countries (FCs).

Countries most in need: Fragile contexts, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS


The DAC List of ODA Recipients shows all countries and territories eligible to receive official development assistance (ODA). The list also includes all of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as defined by the United Nations (UN).


Fragile Countries/Contexts

The OECD DAC defines fragility as the combination of exposure to risk and insufficient capacity of the state, system and/or communities to manage, absorb or mitigate those risks.

The fragility framework is built around five dimensions: economic, environmental, political, societal, and security.

The OECD’s States of Fragility 2020 Report identifies 57 fragile countries/contexts (FCs) (27 low-income countries and 30 middle-income countries).

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Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

This category contains 46 developing countries, representing 13% of the world’s population and 38% of the world’s extreme poor.

In 1978, DAC members agreed that the average grant element in official development assistance (ODA) to Least Developed Countries should be either 90% of a given donor’s annual commitment, or at least 86% of the donors’ commitments to each individual country.

In 1981, DAC donors committed to providing between 0.15% and 0.20% of donor gross national income (GNI) in the form of official development assistance to Least Developed Countries.

In 2014, DAC members reached a new agreement to modernise reporting practices regarding ODA loans, thus creating incentives for providing highly subsidised loans to Least Developed Countries.

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Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)

This category is a grouping of 32 developing countries facing particular challenges related to their lack of direct access to the sea, which leads to geographical isolation from international markets.

Import and export of goods and services need to transit through other countries, generating high trade costs and major logistical and infrastructure challenges. Currently, high transport costs erode the competitiveness of Landlocked Developing Countries. They spend almost twice as much of their export earnings on transport and insurance services than the average for developing countries.

In 2003, a programme of action was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Global Conference in Kazakhstan, focusing on transport infrastructure and maintenance, transit policies and trade facilitation measures.

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Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

The OECD DAC has identified 33 countries as Small Island Developing States, each facing various complications that place them at risk.

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