More strategic focus would improve impact of Poland’s foreign aid


14/02/2017 - Poland has built up a small but solid presence in international development and should now focus its limited resources on areas where it can make the most impact, allocating more funds to bilateral aid in priority countries and sectors, according to a new OECD Review.


The first DAC Peer Review of Poland says Poland has been a valued development partner for Eastern European neighbours like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, sharing knowledge and experience from its own socio-economic transformation, including reforming its public administration and growing its private sector. Elsewhere in the world, Poland could do more to increase the strategic focus and scale of its aid to countries and sectors most in need.


Poland provided USD 528 million in net official development assistance (ODA) in 2015 (expressed in constant 2014 prices), a rise of 16.8% in real terms from USD 452 million in 2014. ODA as a share of gross national income (GNI) rose to 0.10% from 0.09% in 2014. Almost 80% of Poland’s aid is channelled through multilateral bodies, mainly in assessed contributions to the European Union.


Poland has committed to triple its ODA to GNI ratio to 0.33% by 2030, bringing it closer to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) average of 0.30%. There is no plan for how to do this, however. Changes in Poland’s aid flows are generally determined by new loans or increases in the country’s EU contributions, which are indexed to the size of the economy.


“Political and public support will be vital to give the government legitimacy to provide more foreign aid,” said DAC Chair Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, presenting the Review in Warsaw. “Budgets aside, Poland should develop clearer strategic guidance to ensure that it adds value and targets poverty reduction in priority areas and countries, including outside the Eastern Partnership region.”


Poland has pledged to increase its aid to least developed countries to 50% of its total ODA from 28.8% at present, a pledge which surveys indicate would have public support. Achieving that would require allocating more bilateral aid to these countries and finding a niche for Polish development in Africa and Asia to ensure the aid is well spent. Another priority should be to bring Polish aid into line with the DAC Recommendation on untying ODA to least-developed countries. Poland’s ODA loans are currently conditional on the purchase of Polish goods and services.


Poland joined the DAC in 2013, and the top five recipients of Polish aid in 2013-14 were Angola, Belarus, Ukraine, China and Ethiopia.


Each DAC member is reviewed every five years in order to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. Reviews use input from officials in the country concerned and partner countries – Ukraine for this Review – as well as civil society and the private sector. Read more on DAC Peer Reviews.


An embeddable version of the report is available, with information about downloadable and print versions and an interactive data visualisation of Polish aid compared with other donors. For further information, or to speak to the report’s author, journalists are invited to contact Catherine Bremer in the OECD Media Office (+33 1 45 24 97 00).


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