In 2005, 15 countries agreed to dedicate 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA). ODA, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) stands for “the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries”. The hope was to reach this goal by 2015, however, only seven countries reached this goal. Of these seven, five reached higher than the target percentage.
Wondering which countries give the most foreign aid? Here are the top five countries by the above-mentioned criteria.
Countries That Give the Most Foreign Aid
- Sweden – Sweden currently stands at number one in ODA support among countries from the European Union. In 2015, 1.4 percent of Sweden’s GNI, or $7.1 billion was ODA assistance. This was a dramatic increase from 2014 and was the result of in-donor refugee costs that cost $1.1 billion. That same year, over 160,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden. Most of Sweden’s ODA assistance was bilateral, meaning money was given directly to other governments. The money was mainly directed towards gender equality. More than $2 million were allocated and the focus of this money was largely geared towards population and reproductive health. During this time Sweden also integrated a Feminist Foreign Policy approach that ensures that women have the ability to access their human rights.
- Norway – In 2015, Norway dedicated $4.3 billion to ODA support. This represented just over 1 percent of Norway’s GNI. This was a slight decrease from 2013, but Norway still remained above the dedicated 0.7 percent of GNI and ranks higher than most countries within the European Union. Most of Norway’s ODA support was for environmental causes. Thirty-four percent of their bilateral aid was focused on the environment (this translates to $1.3 billion). One of the biggest environmental issues that Norway addressed was climate change, and Norway developed an Oil for Development program for this mean. This program helps developing countries oversee their oil resources in a more sustainable way.
- Luxembourg – Luxembourg spent 0.93 percent of GNI od ODA, which totaled to $361 million. Most of this money was focused on economic development, more specifically strengthening the local private sector. Luxembourg helped developing countries economies in several ways. One of the most important was helping to improve trade performance and integration into the world economy. In total, $44 million went towards economic aid. The region that received a majority of this money was sub-Saharan Africa that took 44 percent of Luxembourg’s total bilateral aid.
- Denmark – Denmark achieved 0.1 percent more than the established goal, which equated to more than $2.5 billion in ODA assistance. This was a slight increase from 2014, however, aid is expected to decrease slightly in the future. Despite this decrease, Denmark plans to remain at 0.7 percent of GNI spending towards ODA. Like Sweden, most of this money was provided to gender equality initiatives. The amount of bilateral aid that went towards gender equality was around $1 billion. Roughly 59 percent of this money had the objective of women’s empowerment. Denmark was above average in this category, since the average aid of countries from the European Union was 34 percent.
- The Netherlands – The last of the top five countries on the list is the Netherlands. ODA from Norway reached 0.76 percent of GNI spending or $5.8 billion in total numbers. This was an increase of 24 percent from the previous year and like Sweden, this was largely due to in-donor refugee costs. Also like Sweden, most of the Netherland’s ODA went towards gender equality, in the total of $1.6 billion. This is the result of spending toward reproductive health, water, sanitation and economic infrastructure, which all have an emphasis on gender.
Although many countries out of 15 that have promised to spend their GNI od ODA haven’t done that, the countries that did reach a goal showed that several developed countries view foreign assistance as an important piece of their economy. The top five countries presented in this text are the good examples of how can developed countries provide help to other, less developed countries.
– Drew Garbe