Official development assistance (ODA) is defined as government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The DAC adopted ODA as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and it remains the main source of financing for development aid. ODA data is collected, verified and made publicly available by the OECD.
Foreign aid surges in 2022 due to spending on refugees in donor countries and aid to Ukraine
Foreign aid from official donors rose to an all-time high of USD 204 billion in 2022, up 13.6% in real terms from USD 186 billion in 2021 as developed countries increased their spending on humanitarian aid and on processing and hosting refugees.
The increase was primarily due to a sharp rise in spending on processing and hosting refugees within donor countries to USD 29.3 billion, or 14.4% of ODA, up from USD 12.8 billion in 2021. Excluding these “in-donor” refugee costs, 2022 ODA rose by 4.6% over 2021 in real terms.
Another factor behind the 2022 increase was a jump in aid to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and ongoing war of aggression. ODA to Ukraine totalled USD 16.1 billion – up from just USD 918 million in 2021 – including USD 1.8 billion of humanitarian aid.
The 2022 ODA total is equivalent to 0.36% of DAC donors’ combined gross national income (GNI). Five DAC members – Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden – met or exceeded the 0.7% target in 2022.
ODA rose in 26 DAC countries in 2022, in many cases due to increased support for in-donor refugee costs, and fell in four countries. The largest increases were delivered by Poland (+255.6%), the Czech Republic (+167.1%), Ireland (+125.1%), Lithuania (+121.6%), Slovenia (+48.7%), and Austria (+36.2%).
Official development assistance (ODA) totalled USD 185.9 billion in 2021, an upwards revision from the provisional figure of USD 179 billion released in April following revisions by several DAC members.
The 2021 ODA total is equivalent to 0.33% of DAC members’ combined gross national income (GNI).
The 2021 total marks an 8.5% rise in real terms (i.e. adjusted for inflation and exchange rate fluctuations) compared to 2020 due mostly to COVID-19 support, particularly in the form of vaccine donations. Excluding vaccine donations, 2021 ODA would have increased by 4.8% in real terms from 2020.
DAC countries spent USD 21.9 billion on COVID-19 related activities in 2021, representing about 12% of their combined net ODA. Within this total, USD 11.1 billion were spent on support related to COVID-19 control (e.g. prevention, treatment and care), as well as vaccine donations, while the rest was spent on humanitarian aid and macro-economic support.
Total 2021 ODA included USD 181.4 billion in the form of grants, loans to sovereign entities, debt relief and contributions to multilateral institutions; USD 1.2 billion to development-oriented private sector instrument (PSI) vehicles and USD 3.3 billion in the form of net loans and equities to private companies operating in ODA-eligible countries.