This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Is international aid being sent to the wrong countries?

This news post is almost 8 years old

International anti-poverty group says the world's richest nations are now spending less on the poorest

The UK must commit to providing more aid to the world’s poorest nations.

A high profile international anti-poverty group said Britain and other wealthy countries are not doing enough to help those least well off.

One – which was founded by U2 frontman Bono – says that much of our aid is going to the wrong places.

Only 38% of the UK’s £12 billion spend goes to the 58 states classed by the United Nations (UN) as least developed countries (LDCs).

These states – where millions are in dire poverty – receive just 30% of all aid given by the wealthiest nations.

A report from One suggests aid is often going to the wrong places, for example, to Pakistan, India and China, none of which are LDCs.

We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people

One’s Eloise Todd said: “We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people, especially girls and women.”

The group’s report is designed to put pressure on the leaders of the G8 group of countries before their summit in Germany next month.

One wants to see rich western nations step up their financial help and spend at least half their aid budgets in the world’s poorest countries, must of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

One said that the proportion given to LDCs has, in fact, dipped: “Total overseas development assistance flows to the least-developed countries have been in worrying decline in recent years. In 2014, total overseas development aid to LDCs fell by 2% compared with 2013 and by 6% compared with 2010.”

Only one country directed more than 50% of its overseas development aid to LDCs in 2014 – Iceland.

If the 24 richest countries had allocated half of their aid budgets to LDCs in 2014, it would have made an additional £17.1bn available to the world’s poorest countries, the report added.

Donor nations have generally failed to fulfil the promise made at the Gleneagles G8 summit of 2005 to meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid.

Only five countries – Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark and Britain – achieved the 0.7% level in 2014, but aid budgets are skewed to parts of the world where western nations have strong historical links or where there are geo-political or security reason for providing help.

One said that 2015 would be a crucial year, with several high-profile international conferences taking place including a meeting of the UN that will set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.

These are a series of wide-ranging outcomes all UN states are committed to achieving and are aimed at eradicating poverty and improving the lives of the poorest.

Leaders of Scottish civil society have already told TFN that pursuing the delivery of SDG outcomes is one area where they hope to see co-operation across the sector.



0 0
almost 8 years ago
This seems a really odd and illogical report. Most of the world's poorest people live in middle-income countries. Support shouldn't go to countries based on an arbitrary definition - it should go where it can have the biggest impact (...and that often means middle-income countries).
0 0
Chris M
almost 8 years ago
It's a fair point that most of the world's poorest people are currently living in MICs - but this is looking to the future. Within decades most people in extreme poverty will be based in LDCs, who have less facility to lift themselves out of poverty due to lack of domestic resources/finance and ability to moilise them to poverty alleviating sectors. Take India and Liberia - the former currently has a high proportion of people in extreme poverty, but this is set to change in coming years as the country's economy grows, while the latter has much less capacity to lift itself and its people out of the situation, and this is less likely to change without a greater share of ODA.For full disclosure - I work for the organisation that put the report out, so no wonder I side with its message
0 0
CLEAR Buckhaven
almost 8 years ago
Given there are significant groups of severely disadvantaged peoples even in countries which are NOT LDCs (eg South Asia still has the highest concentration of poor people, in absolute terms, in the world even though the countries themselves may no longer be in the lower income bracket). So even this summary does not make that distinction clear - it may be that aid is flowing to those. Another factor is capacity to utilise aid which may be limited in very poor countries affected by insecurity. It may be better to view development assistance (as opposed to humanitarian aid) as investment in human and social capital which requires more conducive conditions. Thus, while it is good to encoruage better targeting and hold aid agencies accountable, the situation is perhaps more complex than this summary allows.