Development: Aid increases, but with worrying trends


6/4/2011 - Aid flows from OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor countries totalled USD 129 billion in 2010, the highest level ever, and an increase of 6.5% over 2009. This represents about 0.32% of the combined gross national income (GNI) of DAC member countries.

While the 2010 figures demonstrate a commitment to the neediest countries, they also confirm that some donors are not meeting targets they set at Gleneagles and other fora.


 “As the OECD and the DAC celebrate their 50th anniversary this increase shows a continuing commitment to development and development co-operation – principles central to the mission of the OECD since its inception,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “It is in this positive spirit that I would encourage donors to make every effort to meet their Gleneagles targets and work toward achieving the MDGs. This will be central to discussions at the OECD’s  Ministerial Council Meeting next month.”

In 2010, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan were the largest donors of official development assistance (ODA) in terms of volume. EU countries that are members of the DAC provided a combined total of USD 70.2 billion, representing 54% of total net ODA provided by DAC donors.   Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden continued to exceed the 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.

Looking ahead, a recent OECD survey shows that most donors plan to increase aid over the coming 3 years, though at a sharply reduced pace.  Aid will grow at 2% per year between 2011 and 2013, compared to the average 8% per year over the past three years. Aid to Africa is likely to rise by just 1% per year in real terms, compared to the average 13% over the past three years. At this rate, any additional aid to the African countries will be outpaced by population growth.

“When countries make aid pledges, they must do the political, budgetary and planning work needed to sustain them,” said Brian Atwood, Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee which groups the world’s major donors. “Too often, donors commit without the backing that will enable these promises to be kept. We are promoting a new code of good pledging practice – to ensure that promises are backed by plans.”

 “The volume of aid is a crucial factor, but there are other forms of assistance that are not classified as ODA , such as some loans and guarantees, that provide critical support to low income countries. And the contribution of new donors is important as well. We are building broader and deeper global partnerships – sharing collective know-how to alleviate poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

These issues will be at the core of a major international meeting in Busan, Korea, later in the year: the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness from 29 November to 1 December 2011 will look at results-oriented solutions for development, drawing on a range of experience and knowledge from developing countries, DAC and other donors, civil society organisations (CSOs), the private sector and many more players in global development.

For more information on these statistics please contact Helen Fisher in the OECD media division: or by phone + 331 45 24 80 97.


For detailed information on the 2010 ODA figures see For the survey on country programmable aid, see


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