The EU is the world’s largest donor of official development assistance, according to figures released by the Office for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The preliminary figures, compiled by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), show that funds donated by EU Member States reached a total of €74.4 billion in 2018, just under 57 per cent of the global total official development assistance. Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the UK were the proportionally highest donors, all contributing more than 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to international development aid causes.
Overall, the DAC’s figures showed a slight drop in global development assistance donations; however, much of the drop can be attributed to the decrease in refugees in need of humanitarian aid, with 2018 refugee numbers in the EU at their lowest in five years. Where spending on refugee issues is excluded from the calculations, the EU’s cooperative development spending shows an increase of four per cent between 2017 and 2018.
Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said: “EU development cooperation helps improve life opportunities for millions of people across the world. The EU and its Member States have invested over €74 billion in development in 2018 – over half the world’s development efforts. In the future, the EU and its Member States should not only maintain our leading position, but also keep up efforts to further increase our development assistance.”
The EU announced on Tuesday that it would issue €12 million in humanitarian aid to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to assist residents affected by the recent Cyclone Idai and the resultant flooding. The funding will go towards providing residents with food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare; and support in rebuilding their communities. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “We continue to stand in solidarity with the people affected by Cyclone Idai and the floods in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. There are still urgent humanitarian needs to be met and we are scaling up our efforts so that relief continues to be brought to the people in need.”