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.

Foreign aid surges in 2022 due to spending on refugees in donor countries and aid to Ukraine


Foreign aid from DAC member countries rose to an all-time high of USD 211 billion in 2022, as providers increased their spending on processing, and hosting refugees, as well as on supporting Ukraine. This volume is a 17% increase in real terms from 2021 and represents 0.37% of member countries’ combined gross national income.

Spending on “in-donor” refugee costs amounted to USD 31.0 billion, or 14.6% of official development assistance (ODA). Excluding these costs, 2022 ODA rose by 7.3% over 2021. Meanwhile, DAC member countries’ ODA to Ukraine totalled USD 17.8 billion in 2022, of which USD 2.4 billion was humanitarian aid. Multilateral organisations added USD 10.8 billion, driven largely by the EU Institutions (USD 10.6 billion), and non-DAC providers added a further 0.1 billion. In total, Ukraine received USD 28.7 billion in ODA, making it the largest recipient of aid from all providers.

Four DAC members – Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden – met or exceeded the 0.7% ODA/GNI target in the final ODA 2022 statistics.

ODA rose in 27 DAC countries, in many cases due to increased spending on hosting refugees, and fell in 4 countries. The largest increases were delivered by Poland (+268.1%), Estonia (+225.8%), the Czech Republic (+184.5%), Lithuania (+173.4%), and Ireland (+121.3%). DAC countries’ humanitarian ODA increased by 8.5% over 2021 to reach a historical peak of USD 23.9 billion in 2022.

More broadly, developing countries received USD 245 billion in total ODA in 2022 (a 24% increase over 2021), which includes assistance from all official providers, non-DAC and multilateral organisations.

Explore ODA trends

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.


Find out more

    • In-donor refugee costs in Official Development Assistance

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    • Covid-19 vaccines and official development assistance

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    • Official development assistance for gender equality and women’s empowerment

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