$5 trillion — Global Issues


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  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated

This article serves as a side note to the main article: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance. Please refer to that more in-depth section for additional details around aid, its quality, what constitutes aid, etc.

As detailed on the main foreign aid section:

  • In 1970, rich countries of the OECD agreed at the United Nations (Resolution 2626) to give 0.7% of their GNP (now GNI) as aid to the developing countries.
  • Known as ODA, this aid would be for long-term development. Side NoteIt does not include private donations and investment as these are not always predictable or used specifically for long-term development of entire economies, though their contributions can also be large.
  • Over 40 years on, most of the 20 or so rich OECD countries have never reached that figure, or come close.

Annually, the global foreign aid shortfall is high.

The remainder of this page presents a breakdown of those figures.

On this page:

  1. Shortfall of ODA since 1970 totals over
  2. Gap between the 0.7% target and actual ODA growing
  3. Shortfall is more than what has been given so far
  4. The shortfall is potentially higher as aid now includes non-aid items
  5. Percentage of existing aid to Poorest regions

Shortfall of ODA since 1970 totals over

Put bluntly, the rich owe the poor a lot of promised money, similar to the amount of total third world debt in that time:

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The shortfall is potentially higher as aid now includes non-aid items

The shortfall is potentially even higher, given that (as detailed in the main foreign aid section) in recent years official aid has

  1. Included items that it is not meant to, and
  2. Does not always go to the poorest countries, but instead to those of most strategic interest to the donor.

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Percentage of existing aid to Poorest regions

One can argue or expect that most aid would go to the poorest countries, mostly in Africa. However, this is not historically the case (though there are signs that public pressure and the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 to half poverty may encourage better aid quantity and quality).

(Although OECD data does go back to 1960, it was in 1970 when nations agreed to the 0.7% figure. In the 1960s, aid was around 0.5% and there was a belief that it could easily be increased in coming years and reach 0.7% in the mid-1970s.)

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Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created:
  • Last Updated:



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