The Surprising Country That Gives the Most Foreign Aid

How It Works
April 9 2014 4:21 PM

Rich Countries Got More Generous Last Year

Volunteers from the United Arab Emirates carry bags as they set up a refugee camp near the Libyan-Tunisian border on March 12, 2011.

Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

The Guardian reports that according to the OECD’s new figures, foreign aid for development grew by 6.1 percent in 2013 after falling for two years. Six countries are currently meeting their pledge under the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid.

Surprisingly, the world’s most generous country in percentage terms is the United Arab Emirates, whose donations jumped by more than 375 percent last year. This is largely driven by a massive aid package that the UAE signed with Egypt in 2013. The UAE now spends 1.25 percent of its GNI on aid. Norway and Sweden were next.


In dollar amount terms, the U.S. give more than any other country, spending more than $31 billion—though that accounts for a comparatively low 0.19 percent of GDP. (By contrast, Americans believe that as much as 28 percent of U.S. budget goes to foreign aid, which would be something.)

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 


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