UAE is among most generous states, UN told

Emirates contributes 0.7 per cent of GDP to help the poorest nations, country's ambassador says at special UN session

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NEW YORK // The UAE ranks among the world's most generous donors, pouring billions of dirhams into developing countries through grants and loans, the country's ambassador to the United Nations said. Ahmed al Jarman said the UAE contributed more than 0.7 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) - about US$1.8 billion (Dh6.6bn) - "to enhance the production capacity of the economies and the standard of living" in recipient nations. He did not say whether the figure was for 2009 or a projection for 2010.

Mr al Jarman said the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the leading contributor among national institutions, had given more than Dh23bn (US$6.3bn) since its inception in the early 1970s to finance 260 projects in 52 developing countries. This year, the UAE has donated $50 million to help development in Tuvalu, Fiji and other Pacific islands. Mr al Jarman also mentioned the work of the UAE Red Crescent in disaster-struck and war-torn countries, and the Dubai Cares initiative to combat global illiteracy.

The figure of 0.7 per cent was agreed upon as the annual target amount of official development assistance for wealthy countries to provide to battle global poverty. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the only nations to have met the benchmark sum for 2010 are Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. Mr al Jarman disclosed the latest UAE figures last week during a two-day General Assembly session on development financing.

Discussion on the topic is expected to continue at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition next week. UN officials, humanitarians and Gulf philanthropists will attend the three-day event from next Sunday.