Development aid statistics
From Statistics Explained
- Data from September 2009. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Database.
More than half the money spent throughout the world on helping developing countries comes from the European Union and its Member States. The aims of this development aid, as agreed upon by the European Parliament, Council of Ministers and European Commission, are to reduce poverty, develop democratic values, and support national strategies and procedures, thus enabling disadvantaged people in poorer countries to take control of their own development.
This article shows the level of development aid paid out by the EU-15, highlighting that most Member States' official development assistance falls short of the long-standing United Nations target of reaching a level of aid equivalent to 0.7 % of a donor country's gross national income.
Main statistical findings
The EU-15 Member States paid almost EUR 45 000 million in official development assistance to Development Assistance Committee countries in 2007, considerably less than the further EUR 128 000 million coming in the form of private flows which increased greatly in the four most recent years.
There is a long-standing United Nations target of reaching a level of aid equivalent to 0.7 % of donors’ GNI. While EU Member States, like other industrialized countries, have accepted this 0.7 % target for spending, only Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands reached or exceeded this goal in 2008. EU ministers agreed in May 2005 to set a collective target of 0.56 % of GNI by 2010, on the way to achieving the UN target of 0.7 % by 2015. The earlier commitment to reach an EU average of 0.39 % by 2006 was met, and by 2008 the EU-27 average was 0.40 %.
Data sources and availability
Official development assistance consists of grants or loans that are undertaken by the official sector with the promotion of economic development and welfare in the recipient countries as the main objective.
Total financing for development refers to net disbursements, other official flows, and private flows. Other official flows are transactions which do not meet the conditions for eligibility as ODA (or official aid), either because they are not primarily aimed at development, or because they have a grant element of less than 25 %.
Private flows include private export credits, direct investment and financing to multilateral institutions. Foreign direct investment includes significant investments by foreign companies of production facilities or ownership stakes taken in the national companies.
Commitments include both bilateral commitments and commitments to regional banks. Bilateral commitments are recorded as the full amount of the expected transfer, irrespective of the time required for the completion of disbursements.
Disbursements are the release of funds to, or the purchase of goods or services for a recipient. Disbursements record the actual international transfer of financial resources, or of goods or services valued at the cost of the donor.
More than half the money spent throughout the world on helping developing countries comes from the EU and its Member States. The aims of this development aid were laid out in the December 2005 document ‘European Consensus on Development’ agreed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission , which seeks in particular to reduce poverty, to develop democratic values, and to support national strategies and procedures. The ultimate objective of the EU is to enable disadvantaged people in developing countries to take control of their own development, through addressing the main sources of their vulnerability, such as access to food, clean water, education, health, employment, land and social services.
The EU has agreed to the UN's long-standing target that official development aid should amount to 0.7 % of GNI. EU ministers agreed in 2005 on a collective target for official development aid to reach 0.56 % of GNI by 2010, meeting the UN target by 2015. An earlier commitment to reach an EU average of 0.39 % by 2006 has already been met.
The EU’s development strategy:
- focuses on financial and technical assistance to improve basic, physical and social infrastructures and the productive potential of poor nations, including their administrative and institutional capacities;
- extends to external trade policy, which is used to drive development through the opening-up of markets;
- promotes self-help and poverty eradication through policies that focus on consolidating the democratic process, expanding social programmes, strengthening institutional frameworks, and reinforcing the respect for human rights, including equality between men and women;
- plays an important role in rapidly alleviating human suffering – as a result of natural disaster or military conflict.
Since the 1970s, the EU has reduced or removed tariffs and eliminated quotas on imports from developing countries, a policy that was further extended in 2001 to cover the complete removal of tariffs on all imports (except arms) from the 49 least-developed countries of the world.
In addition, all trade or co-operation agreements with developing countries include a human rights clause as a matter of routine, and failure to comply gives rise to automatic penalties, frozen or cancelled aid.
Aside from long-term, strategic, development aid, the EU also plays an important role in rapidly alleviating human suffering resulting from natural disaster or military conflict. The EU’s relief activities are global and have, since 1992, been handled by ECHO, its humanitarian aid office. ECHO considers its first duty to be towards the victims of disaster, through the emergency provision of supplies, such as tents, blankets, food, medicines, water purification systems and fuel. The annual budget of this office in 2007 was about EUR 750 million, a little over one half (55 %) of which was allocated to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. In the past, global relief operations have included the Asian tsunami in December 2004 and the effects of hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Key regions to which assistance has been provided in 2007 stretched from the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa to the Palestinian Territories in the Middle East, to the northern Caucasus (particularly Chechnya) to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan in Asia. Most of this EU aid is in the form of non-repayable grants.
Further Eurostat information
- Building the System of National Accounts - Statistics Explained online publication
- International statistical cooperation - Statistics Explained online publication
- Monitoring sustainable development - Statistics Explained online publication
- Official development assistance as share of gross national income
- European Commission - Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO)
- OECD - Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC)
- United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)