UAE is top humanitarian spender in rich nations club

The Gulf state gave 1.34 per cent of its national income to development aid in 2013

The UAE is of the world’s leading aid donors, contributing $5.4bn to poorer nations in 2013 and bypassing the UN recommended target of giving 0.7 per cent of income.

The Gulf state gave 1.34 per cent of its national income to development aid, data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed, representing the highest foreign aid share in the 34-member club.

The rate reflects in part the UAE’s significant financial support for Egypt’s army-backed government, following civil unrest in the Arab country.

Other generous donor countries included Norway, Sweden and Luxembourg with ratios of aid to income of 1.07, 1.01 and 1.00 per cent, respectively. The average country effort was 0.39 per cent, according to the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

The Paris-based think tank released its final figures on development aid in 2013 in December. The top three recipients of gross official development assistance (ODA) in 2013 were Afghanistan, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Total aid of some $134.5bn was given in 2013, representing 0.30 per cent of DAC donors’ combined GNI.

The UAE’s giving rate is a significant jump from 2012 figures, when the Gulf country gave just over $1bn or 0.27 per cent of its GNI in aid. That year, the UAE provided bilateral co-operation mostly to Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea and Azerbaijan, according to the OECD.

The UAE is a participant of the OECD’s aid committee, which is open to non-members of the rich country club who want to contribute to DAC’s discussions on aid. The country joined the DAC in July 2014.