Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the launch of the UAE Official Foreign Aid Report for 2013 in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the launch of the UAE Official Foreign Aid Report for 2013 in Abu Dhabi. Show more

UAE aid more than triples to Dh21.6bn

ABU DHABI // The UAE’s overseas aid donations more than tripled to Dh21.63 billion in 2013, a report released on Monday shows.

The Foreign Aid Report showed aid increased 270 per cent from Dh5.83bn in 2012 – a historic achievement, said Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development.

“The UAE realises it must provide the assisting hands to those who need it, without delay,” Sheikha Lubna said.

“This shows the UAE’s vision in development and humanitarian cooperation. I pray that the UAE continues to be blessed with the act of giving.”

Sheikha Lubna said the UAE was the largest foreign aid donor in the world last year, in relation to gross national income.

Statistics showed it rose from 0.33 per cent of gross national income in 2012 to 1.33 per cent in 2013 – “a rate that no country in the world had been able to match for 50 years”.

The UAE considered the long-term development of recipient countries by helping their citizens to escape poverty, receive education and improve their health, Sheikha Lubna said.

Farhan Haq, spokesman for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, praised the UAE’s generosity.

“We certainly do appreciate the contributions by the UAE at this time of crucial need,” said Mr Haq.

“The humanitarian needs around the world have grown, and we’ve been dependent on countries doing even more and contributing even more money.

“And so the contributions made by the UAE have been extremely appreciated.

“It’s clear we’ve had major appeals, not just for Syria but for the region, given the impact of the Syrian conflict on the region as a whole.

“So the contributions that the UAE has made in that regard have been a big help.”

In 2013, the UAE Government donated Dh17.8bn – 82.5 per cent of the total donations – through ministries, Armed Forces, authorities and agencies.

Twenty-one other donors contributed to the overall foreign aid total.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rash-id, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, was also at the report’s release on Monday, where he handed out awards to each of each of the organisations.

Sheikha Lubna thanked the other donors.

“This achievement wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for the real vision and partnership, and the concerted efforts of donors and charitable and humanitarian bodies in the UAE,” she said.

The report showed the country that received the most aid was Egypt, with Dh16.9bn. Next was Jordan with Dh582.9 million, Pakistan with Dh546.5m, and Afghanistan with Dh431.5m.

Most donations, 83.8 per cent, went to countries in the African continent.

Development accounted for 98.8 per cent of spending, with more than half of that on general assistance programmes.

The rest went to commodity aid, infrastructure development, education, health, transport, water sanitisation and social services.

The highest amounts of development assistance went to Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Twenty-six per cent of total aid provided was put into humanitarian relief such as food aid, health and shelter.

Countries such as Jordan, Afghanistan and Pakistan received a great portion of aid because of instability and conflict.

The rest went into charity work such as building mosques, providing religious education and supporting people and communities.

The report also mentioned the UAE’s contribution to the eradication of polio across the world.

“April 2013 marked a step forward in the global initiative to eradicate polio by 2018 when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces] pledged a donation of Dh440m in support,” the report said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid also launched the Dress One Million Children campaign in Ramadan 2013, with a target of Dh40m to provide suitable clothing for needy children.

The campaign reached that total in 10 days, and by the end of the month it hit Dh104.6m, providing more than 1.3 million children in 44 countries with clothing.

The first to receive the clothes were Syrian refugee children in Jordan.

* Additional reporting by Tamiur Khan, foreign correspondent

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