OECD Aid at All-Time High in 2014, Poorest Countries Received Less

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has announced that while official development assistance (ODA) from member countries reached a record high in 2014, both the amount and share going to the least developed countries fell.

According to OECD, Afghanistan ($4.8 billion) was the beneficiary of the most assistance from OECD countries in 2014, followed by Vietnam and Syria ($4.2 billion each), Pakistan and Ethiopia ($3.6 billion each), Egypt ($3.5 billion), and Turkey ($3.4 billion). The largest donor countries by dollar amount were the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan, while total ODA accounted for 0.3 percent of gross national income across all OECD members, with Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, and the UK continuing to exceed the UN's target of 0.7 percent. According to OECD, net ODA has increased by nearly 70 percent since 2000.

But while official development assistance from the twenty-eight OECD members in 2014 totaled $137.2 billion — up $2 billion, or 1.2 percent, on a year-over-year basis — the least developed countries received only 30 percent of that, or $43.7 billion, down 9.3 percent. OECD noted that much of the decline resulted from lower levels of debt relief, which was relatively high in 2013 due to assistance to Myanmar. Excluding debt relief grants, ODA to the least developed countries fell by about 4.6 percent in 2014, while the share of aid directed to the poorest countries was the smallest since 2006, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.

"It's been a worrisome trend that's been going on for a number of years now," Yasmin Ahmad, manager of OECD's data collection unit, told Thomson Reuters. "The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is trying to highlight this issue and is very much focused on putting the least developed countries as prime focus again."

"Final Official Development Assistance Figures in 2014." Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Press Release 01/04/2016. "OECD Aid Hits Record High in 2014 but Poorest Countries Get Less." Thomson Reuters Foundation 01/05/2016.