The Progress of Nations

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 Data briefs: Progress and disparity
   

Halt in overall aid decline, but no sustained increase seen

Official development assistance (ODA) ended its five-year plummet in 1998, when total aid given increased to $51.9 billion, from $48.3 billion in 1997 – a jump of 9.6% in real terms. Increased donations by 15 of the 21 industrialized countries that give ODA contributed to this turn of events, due in part to short-term support in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis and the decisions by several countries to re-emphasize or rebuild aid programmes after cutbacks in the 1990s.

The good news of 1998 is tempered, however, by the overall downward trend of ODA since 1990. From 1990 to 1998, average total ODA as a percentage of a donor’s gross national product (GNP) dropped from 0.33% to 0.24%, and aid per person dropped from $75 to $63.

In 1998, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, the most consistent and generous donors, remained the only four countries to exceed the ODA target of 0.7% of a donor country’s GNP, agreed upon by the world in 1970.

Denmark contributed at the highest rate (0.99%), and the United States at the lowest (0.10%). Denmark also gave the most per person at $323, with Norway and Luxembourg close behind at $299 and $265, respectively. Since 1990, Luxembourg has had the sharpest increase in ODA per person, by $194, and Finland the steepest decline, by $64.

As in 1997, the top three donor countries in dollar terms were Japan ($10.6 billion), the United States ($8.8 billion) and France ($5.7 billion). Overall, the seven most industrialized countries (the G7) gave an average of 0.20% of their GNP to ODA, less than half that given by non-G7 countries (0.45%).

Decline in donor aid flattens out

ODA as % of donor
nations’ GNP
Total aid
($ billion)
Aid per
person ($)
Change per
person ($)
% 1998 % 1990 1998 1998 since 1990

Denmark 0.99 0.94 1.7 323 83
Norway 0.91 1.17 1.3 299 29
Netherlands 0.80 0.92 3.0 194 11
Sweden 0.72 0.91 1.6 177 -36
Luxembourg 0.65 0.21 0.1 265 194
France 0.40 0.60 5.7 98 -36
Belgium 0.35 0.46 0.9 87  -13
Finland 0.32 0.65 0.4 77  -64
Switzerland 0.32 0.32 0.9 123  1
Ireland 0.30 0.16 0.2 54  37
Canada 0.29 0.44 1.7 55 -22
Japan 0.28 0.31 10.6 84 0
Australia 0.27 0.34 1.0 52 0
New Zealand 0.27 0.23 0.1 34 5
United Kingdom 0.27 0.27 3.9 66 11
Germany 0.26 0.42 5.6 68 -22
Portugal 0.24 0.25 0.3 26 7
Spain 0.24 0.20 1.4 35 11
Austria 0.22 0.25 0.5 56 -1
Italy 0.20 0.31 2.3 40 -19
United States 0.10 0.21 8.8 32 -22
Average/Total 0.24 0.33 51.9 63 -12

Note: Amounts in 1998 dollars.
Sources: OECD, Development Co-operation (1995 and 1999 reports); UN Population Division, World Population Prospects, 1998 revision.
 
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