Development finance standards

Official development assistance (ODA)


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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.

International aid rises in 2023 with increased support to Ukraine and humanitarian needs

International aid from official donors rose in 2023 to a new all-time high of USD 223.7 billion, up from USD 211 billion in 2022, as provider countries increased aid flows to Ukraine and directed more humanitarian assistance to developing countries.

The 1.8% rise in real terms was the latest in a series of annual increases in Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the fifth consecutive year that ODA has set a new record. Total 2023 ODA total is up by a third from 2019 levels.

At 0.37% of DAC donors’ combined gross national income (GNI) for a second year running, the ODA total still lags behind a long-standing UN target of 0.7% ODA to GNI.

ODA to Ukraine, where Russia’s war of aggression is entering a third year, rose by 9% in 2023 to reach USD 20 billion, including USD 3.2 billion of humanitarian aid. ODA also increased to the West Bank and Gaza with preliminary estimates showing a rise of 12% on 2022 to USD 1.4 billion. Within that total, USD 758 million was in the form of humanitarian aid, which increased by 91% from 2022. On a global level, humanitarian aid rose by 4.8% in 2023 to reach USD 25.9 billion.

ODA used to cover refugee costs within donor countries fell by 6.2% in 2023 to stand at USD 31 billion, representing 13.8% of total ODA compared with 14.7% in 2022. For seven DAC countries, in-donor refugee costs still accounted for over a quarter of their ODA in 2023. Total ODA excluding these in-donor refugee costs was up by 3.2% in real terms.

Bilateral aid flows from DAC members to the group of least developed countries were USD 37 billion, an increase of 3% in real terms compared to 2022, when it showed a drop of 6.2%.


ODA in 2023

What is ODA?

Official development assistance (ODA) flows to countries and territories on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral development institutions are:

i. Provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies; and

ii. Concessional (i.e. grants and soft loans) and administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective.

The DAC list of countries eligible to receive ODA is updated every three years and is based on per capita income.

Military aid and promotion of donors' security interests are not ODA.


Find out more

    • In-donor refugee costs in Official Development Assistance

    • link

    • When and why do countries stop being eligible for receiving Official Development Assistance?

    • link

    • Official development assistance for gender equality and women’s empowerment

    • link

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