UAE is world's top donor of development aid in 2017, report shows

The UAE spent 1.31 per cent of its gross national income on foreign developmental aid last year

Aid packages are lined up for distribution in Abyan as the UAE Red Crescent continues its assistance to civilians in Yemen affected by the country’s war. Wam / May 7, 2016
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The UAE was the world's largest donor of official development aid last year, relative to its national income, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

With a total contribution of Dh19.32 billion of developmental aid in 2017, the UAE spent 1.31 per cent of its gross national income on foreign developmental aid — almost twice the global target of 0.7 per cent set by the United Nations.

The donations made in 2017 represent a 23.72 per cent increase from the year prior, when the country contributed Dh15.57 billion.

Almost 43 per cent of the UAE’s aid was distributed across Asia, making up Dh8.28bn; about 28 per cent (Dh5.4bn) was donated in Africa and 23 per cent in Europe (Dh4.44bn).

Dh2.97bn was donated to Yemen, reported state news agency Wam.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the UAE had retained its top spot for the fifth year in a row.

“Our aid reached 19.3 billion and was distributed to more than 147 countries,” the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said on Twitter.

“The good of the UAE is for all humanity, that is how [UAE Founding Father Sheikh] Zayed founded [the country].”

Total global foreign aid totalled Dh538.5bn, representing a slight decrease of 0.6 per cent from 2016.

According to preliminary data collected by the OECD, less money was spent on refugees inside donor countries but more funds flowed to countries most in need of aid.

Sweden was the second greatest donor of foreign aid, contributing 1.01 per cent of its gross national income — up from fourth place in 2016.

Luxembourg followed in third with 1 per cent. Norway, Denmark and the UK made up the remaining countries to exceed the UN target for donations relative to GNI.

On Monday, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said the UAE earning the top spot was an indication of the “strenuous efforts being made by Emiratis to serve mankind.


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“Contributing to the advancement of humanity and the achievement of peace and prosperity are key pillars of the UAE’s foreign aid policy,” he said.

Last year was announced the Year of Giving by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa. Some 275,000 volunteers took part in charitable activities, spending 2.8 million hours contributing to good causes, according to an end of year report by the Government.

Among the initiatives was the Reaching the Last Mile forum in November, which was dedicated to eradicating diseases such as malaria and polio.

At the event in Abu Dhabi, a US$100 million fund was announced with the goal of wiping out many of the world's deadliest diseases. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Depiuty Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, contributed US$20 million.