The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced the development aid rose by 6.1% in real terms in 2013, despite heavy budget pressures in OECD countries set against the global economic crisis, according to preliminary data.
Donors have provided USD 134.8 billion in net official development assistance (ODA), reaching the highest level ever recorded. OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) also indicated that aid levels are expected to increase again in 2014, according to its annual survey of donor spending plans. Less good news is that the trend of falling share of aid going to the neediest sub-Saharan African countries is expected to continue.
17 of the DAC’s 28 member countries reported an increase in their ODA last year, while 11 reported a decrease. Out of all DAC’s member countries, only five met a longstanding UN target for an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.7%.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and France were the largest donors by volume, while Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden continued to exceed the 0.7% ODA/GNI target. UK met it for the first time in 2014, and The Netherlands fell below 0.7% for the first time since 1974.
The annual survey conducted by OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) suggests a continued focus in the medium term on middle-income countries (such as Brazil, China, Chile, Georgia, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan), and a further decline in programmed aid to LDCs and low-income countries, in particular in Africa. For middle-income countries, programmed increases above 5% are expected up to 2017, and will be mostly in the form of soft loans. Country Programmable Aid (CPA) to LDCs and LICs is set to decrease by 5%.
Forty-nine countries are now designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” (LDCs), and only three countries have so far graduated from LDC status: Botswana in December 1994, Cape Verde in December 2007 and Maldives in January 2011. In March 2009, CDP recommended the graduation of Equatorial Guinea. Even if this recommendation was accepted by the Council in July 2009, but as of September 2013, the Assembly had not confirmed the decision.
The 49 LDCs continue to lag well behind in most development indicators. Almost half of the population of LDCs, nearly 450 million people, falls within the international definition of “absolute poverty” – earning less than $1.25 a day. At the same time, even in the countries where poverty rates are falling, absolute numbers remain high. For example, in Bangladesh nearly 50 million people are still living below international poverty line, despite a 26% decline in poverty.