In December, the OECD DAC (the global body that tracks aid statistics) released the final 2013 Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) figures. These were the final updates to the preliminary estimates released back in April, and provide more complete and detailed information on donor aid spending.
ONE’s analysis of the final figures (which excludes debt relief) shows that total global official development assistance was $130.8 billion in 2013, a 4.9% increase from 2012.
This increase came after two years of decline in global aid. But the aid increases have not kept up with overall economic growth, and aid as a percent of total national wealth stands at only 0.29%.
One of the biggest increases came from the UK, who met the target of spending 0.7% of national budgets on aid for the first time in 2013. As such, UK ODA increased by 28.7% from 2012 – an additional $4 billion. Of the rest of the G7 donors, three others increased aid significantly. Italy increased ODA by 8.7%, Germany increased by 7.8%, and Japan increased by 9%.
Three G7 donors, though, decreased aid. France decreased aid by 3.8%. Canada decreased aid by 7.5%. And the US decreased ODA by 1.3% (even though the preliminary estimates showed an increase of 0.9%). Other former aid champions also decreased development assistance – Australia cut aid by 4.5% and the Netherlands decreased by 5.2%.
Total aid to sub-Saharan Africa also showed an increase of 2.9%, but significantly less than the global increase, indicating that donors are not prioritising some of the poorest countries.
Some of the biggest cuts to sub-Saharan Africa aid came from Germany (-9.5%), Canada (-10.4%), and the US (-6.9%).
A few donors did show significant increases for the region. The UK increased aid to sub-Saharan Africa by 29%. France increased by 11.7%. Italy increased by 21%, Japan by 9.3%, and the Netherlands increased development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa by 17% from 2012.
This year, 2015, is a milestone. For donors of the European Union, 2015 is the deadline by which they were supposed to have met the 0.7% spending target on aid. Yet the average of the EU 15 countries stood at 0.43% in 2013, a long way off from the target.
This year also holds the Financing for Development Summit in Ethiopia in July, where world leaders will come together to assess and help shape development finance for years to come. It won’t just be about aid, but donor countries will need to step up and reaffirm existing aid commitments (and make new ones) to ensure that the new sustainable development goals have the best chance at success, particularly for the poorest countries.