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ONE warns that global aid is stalling despite African countries’ increasing need

Sara Harcourt, Senior Policy Director at ONE, said: “It is alarming to start 2019 with the confirmation that global aid is stalling, when needs in the poorest countries are exponentially increasing.”

The OECD final figures show that some donors are not prioritising their commitments to ending poverty by 2030. In Africa, home to more than half of the world’s poorest people, aid per person in 2017 was just $39. This figure could drop to $28 by 2030, if aid levels do not increase. Donors need to keep pace with Africa’s booming population and potential.

“By 2050, Africa’s population will double to 2.5 billion people, with half under the age of 25. This growing youth population will need vital investments in health and education, alongside employment opportunities, in order to realise a demographic dividend.”

However, there are some positive signals. France, Italy, Sweden and Japan increased their aid levels considerably, and the UK continued to meet its commitment of giving 0.7% of national income in official development assistance (ODA). The world’s poorest countries – least developed countries (LDCs) – also saw a 7.4% increase in aid.

“Aid figures must continue to increase in coming years if we are going to meet the immense needs the world is facing today.”

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) released its final 2017 figures just before the end of the year. Overall aid levels fell to $147.2 billion in 2017 (down 0.1% from 2016 in real terms) – due to a decrease in aid being spent at home to support refugees (In-Donor Refugee costs, IDRC). If IDRC is excluded, ODA rose by 1.6% last year.

Excluding refugee costs, almost half of DAC donors decreased their total aid in 2017. Only five countries met the UN 0.7% target – the UK, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark.


The OECD and Official Development Assistance: The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines development aid and monitors its flows to developing countries. The committee has measured resource aid flows since 1961.

Special attention has been given to the official and concessional part of these flows, defined as “official development assistance” (ODA). The DAC first defined ODA in 1969, and tightened the definition in 1972. ODA is the key measure used in practically all aid targets and assessments of aid performance. The definition is of great importance for the global goal that donor countries commit 0.7% of their GNI to development assistance