UAE donates Dh8.9bn in foreign aid

The UAE Government and Emirati donor organisations gave more than Dh8.9 billion in foreign aid in 2009.

Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories received the most assistance from the UAE’s foreign aid funds.
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ABU DHABI // The UAE Government and Emirati donor organisations gave more than Dh8.9 billion in foreign aid in 2009, according to the first national report on the issue, released today. The 2009 UAE Foreign Aid Report was unveiled at a ceremony held at the Emirates Palace at an event attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The report was released by the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA), led by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, who was also on hand. During the launch, Sheikh Mohammed announced a provisional figure of Dh163bn as the amount given by the Government and UAE donors since 1971. One of OCFA's main projects is to collate all of the UAE's historical aid data since the country was formed. "The UAE has given nearly Dh9 billion to more than 90 countries," Sheikh Mohammed said in his address, adding that funds have gone towards projects to help "the poor and the weak". "This is linked to our history and religion and heritage," he added. Sheikh Mohammed also stressed that the UAE's philanthropic efforts were begun by the late Sheikh Zayed, whose wife Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak is also well known for her humanitarian work. Today, she was named Person of the Year for Support to the Foreign Aid Sector, an award handed out for the first time by OCFA. The single biggest recipient of aid from the UAE was Yemen, according to the report, with over Dh2.8bn in assistance. Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories were also among the main recipients of assistance in 2009. The report found that the vast majority of the aid was given in the form of grants to humanitarian and development projects in 92 countries. Eighty-seven per cent of the funds were directed to countries in Asia, according to the report, and 10 per cent, or Dh911 million, was donated to projects in Africa. The Middle East was the sub-region that received the most assistance, with the UAE contributing over Dh4.6bn in foreign aid in 2009. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) was the largest UAE donor organisation, giving Dh4.9bn in grants and loans. The UAE Government was the second largest donor, contributing more than Dh3 billion. The funds were directed to projects from the provision of emergency food aid to major infrastructure and development initiatives.