New data highlights Canada’s retreat from the world’s poorest

OTTAWA — New data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reveals that Canada — which assumed the presidency of the G7 last week — was the only G7 country whose level of development assistance declined, dropping by 5.2 percent in 2016.

Using the globally-accepted measure of national generosity — the ratio of development to national income — Canada now invests just .26 percent in overseas development, down from .28 percent in 2015, and from its highest share, .54 percent, in 1975.

Stuart Hickox, Canada Director at The ONE Campaign:

“What this data shows is that while the rest of the G7 was investing more in development, Canada was investing less. At this moment, with all that’s going on in the world and Canada assuming the G7 presidency, frankly it’s disappointing. It erodes our moral standing and undermines our political leverage at what should be a moment of strength for us.

“Canada has a unique opportunity and responsibility this year to play a real leadership role in the world, but that can’t happen if Prime Minister Trudeau continues to retreat in his development spending. The Liberals’ funding strategy for development — introduce an ambitious new policy and move money around, but withhold additional investments in life-saving work — has made Canada an outlier amongst its peers.

“It’s time for Canada to lead. Prime Minister Trudeau should include a significant and strategic increase for development in Budget 2018, showing that his commitment to empowering women and girls around the world is backed up with more than words, but in funding. While we support the government’s feminist international assistance policy, it rings hollow without the funds to make it happen.”

While Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) decreased in 2016, final findings from OECD DAC showed that global aid reached an all-time high of $142.44 billion – an increase of 9.23 percent in real terms. Aid to the least developed countries (LDCs) increased by 5.4 percent, largely due to aid given by multilateral institutions. However, those statistics also confirmed the proportion of this record aid going to least developed countries (LDCs) fell overall by one percentage point, down from 2015’s 28 percent to 27 percent. This is compared to 32 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, the share of global aid going to Africa – home to over 50 percent of the world’s extreme poor – dropped from 36 percent in 2012 to 32 percent in 2016, the figures showed.

Notes to Editors

  • Please note that ONE’s methodology analyses aid flows from OECD DAC donors, not all donors as measured by DAC. ONE excludes debt relief in all of its ODA calculations.
  • To schedule an interview with an expert about these findings, please contact Sean Simons at [email protected]

ONE is a policy and advocacy organization of more than 8 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, ONE was co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono to raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and other preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.