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Foreign assistance has become the chief mechanism by which developed countries seek to foster a more equitable distribution of the world's wealth. Generally speaking, most humans agree that an ever-widening, highly skewed distribution of global wealth cannot continue forever without the occurrence of some major global upheavals. One early warning sign of the upheavals is when you see citizens from poorer countries making desperate and dangerous attempts to gain entrance into the more developed countries. The reason for these attempts, in part, is because humans prefer to live in peace and safety. Generally speaking, humans want to earn a decent wage so that they can afford to obtain the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, and a good education. Humans want to live fairly comfortable, healthy, and sanitary existences.

For the sake of argument, say, for instance, on any given day, a population of 100 humans must share a single pie containing 100 equal slices. The ideal scenario would be for each per person to get one slice of pie. By so doing, everyone would be happy because everyone would be receiving an equal amount of nutrients. Is it morally acceptable, then, for, say, one privileged individual to be able to stow away 80 slices of the pie for himself or herself. The remaining 99 individuals are expected to share the remaining 20 slices of pie among themselves? The first question to be asked usually is this: Why would this one person stow away 80 slices of the pie which he or she could not possibly eat in a day's time in the first place and leave the other 99 humans to fight over who gets to eat the remaining 20 slices of pie?

I am a staunch proponent of capitalism. I think that if you are capable, if you have an enterprising spirit, and if you go into the open marketplace and lawfully earn a billion dollars, then all the more power to you. However, I do not support this particular pie scenario. I think that highly successful capitalists should more equitably share the wealth that they earn especially when they use invaluable human resources in the process of earning that wealth. I always have commended Lincoln Electric and its innovative profit-sharing business model as worthy of emulating as opposed to the present-day global corporate practice of highly compensating and enriching a few top executives with the lion's share of the corporation's distributed profits. While I wholeheartedly support and embrace the free-enterprise system—and the democratic system, too—I do not think that it is morally acceptable for a few privileged individuals (or a handful of governments) to be in a position to purchase and control, say, fourth-fifths of the Earth resources while the rest of humanity struggles and suffers. Without going overboard with reform or without going to the extreme of throwing the capitalist baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, I think that there is always room for improvement or refinement of the free-enterprise system.

Watch (Record Inequality between Rich and Poor)

Watch (Wealth Inequality around the World)

Watch (Rethinking Development Aid)

There are two types of foreign assistance:

  1. Economic assistance which is meant to improve economic standards and social living conditions in the recipient country. Also, foreign economic assistance is given to a country as humanitarian relief in times of either natural disasters or in times of human-induced disasters.
  2. Military assistance which is meant to boost the national security of the recipient country.

Some observers distinguish foreign economic assistance from foreign military assistance by referring to the economic assistance as foreign aid. From these two types of foreign assistance, in the USA during 2009, a report by the USA Census Bureau indicated that two-thirds of it was obligated to be spent as economic assistance and the remaining one-third was obligated to be spent as military assistance. The following two links provide additional insights into USA foreign assistance patterns:

Read (Less Than One Percent | 2009 USAID Dollars to Results)

Read (2012 USA Foreign Aid Around the World | Finance Degree Center)

Foreign economic aid typically comes in three forms:

  1. Bilateral aid (from one country to another country)
  2. Multilateral aid (from multiple donor countries to specialized aid-delivery agencies). A good example would be funds to support various United Nations' social, economic, cultural, and educational programs.
  3. Privately donated funds to privately run philanthropic or charitable organizations. Good examples would be the Red Cross and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

From these three forms of foreign economic aid, most foreign assistance is given as bilateral foreign aid. Some of the bilateral aid gets distributed to multilateral organizations. Accordingly, this page briefly examines bilateral foreign aid.


The following graphics illustrate the flow of foreign aid from donor countries to recipient countries. The USA has emerged as the biggest donor of foreign aid in terms of absolute dollars allocated. However, as a percentage of gross national income, as of 2014, Sweden emerges as the most generous country in the world when it comes to giving foreign aid to economically less fortunate countries. When non-OECD members are included, the United Arab Emirates emerges as the most generous country in the world when it comes to giving foreign aid, that is, foreign aid as a percentage of gross national income.

Read (Official Development Assistance 2014)

Read (Aid Statistics by Donor, Recipient and Sector)

Read (Aid at a Glance by Recipients)

Who exactly is the OECD, and who is DAC? The OECD is the European-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Its mission is "to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world." The OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a department within the OECD that is devoted to monitoring all aspects of foreign economic aid given by its members to recipient countries. As of 2015, the DAC consisted of 29 member countries. The DAC tracks both the donors and recipients of global foreign economic aid donated by DAC members. According to the OECD, net official development assistance (ODA) from DAC members totaled $135.2 billion in USA dollars for the year 2014. Non-OECD/Non-DAC members are those countries that annually give bilateral economic assistance to developing countries but whose donations are not centrally gathered by or formally co-mingled with the OECD's foreign aid records.

The following three tables offer tabular views of global foreign aid as of 2013.

Table 1: DAC Members' Net Official Development Assistance in 2013
Count Country ODA (USD million) current 2013 ODA/GNI (%) 2013
1 Australia $4,846 0.33
2 Austria $1,171 0.27
3 Belgium $2,300 0.45
4 Canada $4,947 0.27
5 Czech Republic $211 0.11
6 Denmark $2,927 0.85
7 Finland $1,435 0.54
8 France $11,342 0.41
9 Germany $14,228 0.38
10 Greece $239 0.10
11 Iceland $35 0.25
12 Ireland $846 0.46
13 Italy $3,407 0.17
14 Japan $11,582 0.23
15 Korea $1,755 0.13
16 Luxembourg $429 1.00
17 Netherlands $5,435 0.67
18 New Zealand $457 0.26
19 Norway $5,581 1.07
20 Poland $472 0.10
21 Portugal $488 0.23
22 Slovak Republic $86 0.09
23 Slovenia $62 0.13
24 Spain $2,375 0.17
25 Sweden $5,827 1.01
26 Switzerland $3,197 0.47
27 United Kingdom $17,920 0.71
28 United States $30,879 0.18
TOTAL DAC   $134,481 0.30

Table 2: Concessional flows for development from non-DAC providers of development co-operation
Count Other providers of foreign aid Net ODA Disbursements (USD million) 2013 Share of bilateral co-operation (%) ODA/GNI (%)
1 Bulgaria $50 1 0.10
2 Chinese Taipei $272 85 0.05
3 Croatia $45 54 0.08
4 Cyprus (3,4) $20 16 0.10
5 Estonia $31 37 0.13
6 Hungary $128 27 0.10
7 Israel (1,2) $202 92 0.07
8 Kuwait (KFAED) $186 100 n.a.
9 Latvia $24 6 0.08
10 Liechtenstein $28 84 n.a.
11 Lithuania $50 35 0.11
12 Malta $18 66 0.20
13 Romania $134 15 0.07
14 Russia $714 51 0.03
15 Saudi Arabia $5,683 95 n.a.
16 Thailand $46 60 0.01
17 Turkey $3,308 95 0.42
18 United Arab Emirates $5,402 100 1.34
TOTAL   $16,341    
1. The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.
2. These figures include USD 35.4 million in 2009, USD 40.2 million in 2010, USD 49.2 million in 2011, USD 56 million in 2012 and USD 55.9 million in 2013 for first year sustenance expenses for persons arriving from developing countries (many of which are experiencing civil war or severe unrest), or individuals who have left due to humanitarian or political reasons.
3. Footnote by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to <<Cyprus>> relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the "Cyprus issue".
4. Footnote by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Commission: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
OECD'S Note: The above table does not reflect development co-operation provided by several other non-OECD countries, as they do not report to the OECD. Table [2 above] reflects estimates on the development co-operation programmes of other main non-DAC providers of development co-operation.

Table 3: ODA Receiptsa and Selected Indicators for Developing Countries and Territories

(NOTE: Blank cells on the first row below are for filtering the data. Type a filter word or number in the applicable blank cell and press the Enter key to filter the data. Click Reset to undo the filter, or erase your input and press the Enter key again to unfilter.)
Count Recipients of Foreign Aid Region Net ODA Receipts (USD million) 2013 GNI/CAP (d) USD 2013 Population (million) 2013 Current GNI (USD million) 2013 ODA/GNI (percent) 2013
1 Afghanistan Asia (South and Central) $5,266 $700 30.55 $20,865.66 25.24
2 Africa, regional Africa (Other) $1,869        
3 Albania Europe $298 $4,700 2.77 $12,940.17 2.31
4 Algeria Africa (Saharan) $208 $5,290 39.21 $205,155.07 0.10
5 America, regional America (Other) $1,669        
6 Angola Africa (Sub-Saharan) $288        
7 Anguilla America (North and Central) $8   0.02    
8 Antigua and Barbuda America (North and Central) $2 $12,910 0.09 $1,177.04 0.13
9 Argentina America (South) $30   41.45 $470,086.75 0.01
10 Armenia Asia (South and Central) $293 $3,790 2.98 $10,926.21 2.68
11 Asia, regional Asia (Other) $1,144        
12 Azerbaijan Asia (South and Central) -$63 $7,350 9.42 $69,440.41 -0.09
13 Bangladesh Asia (South and Central) $2,669 $900 156.59 $142,929.03 1.87
14 Barbados (b) America (North and Central)          
15 Belarus Europe $105 $6,720 9.47 $68,969.72 0.15
16 Belize America (North and Central) $50 $4,660 0.33 $1,551.00 3.19
17 Benin Africa (Sub-Saharan) $653 $790 10.32 $8,238.20 7.92
18 Bhutan Asia (South and Central) $135 $2,460 0.75 $1,770.85 7.61
19 Bolivia America (South) $699 $2,550 10.67 $28,693.34 2.44
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe $550 $4,740 3.83 $18,175.96 3.03
21 Botswana Africa (Sub-Saharan) $108 $7,730 2.02 $14,620.71 0.74
22 Brazil America (South) $1,150 $11,690 200.36 $2,203,224.71 0.05
23 Burkina Faso Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,040 $670 16.93 $11,029.53 9.43
24 Burundi Africa (Sub-Saharan) $546 $280 10.16 $2,904.66 18.81
25 Cabo Verde Africa (Sub-Saharan) $243 $3,630 0.50 $1,832.92 13.28
26 Cambodia Asia (Far East) $805 $950 15.14 $14,491.28 5.55
27 Cameroon Africa (Sub-Saharan) $737 $1,270 22.25 $28,715.08 2.57
28 Central African Republic Africa (Sub-Saharan) $189 $320 4.62 $1,537.09 12.31
29 Chad Africa (Sub-Saharan) $399 $1,020 12.83 $12,887.62 3.10
30 Chile America (South) $79 $15,230 17.62 $266,076.05 0.03
31 China (People's Republic of) Asia (Far East) -$651 $6,560 1,357.38 $9,196,167.75 -0.01
32 Colombia America (South) $852 $7,560 48.32 $363,489.31 0.23
33 Comoros Africa (Sub-Saharan) $82 $880 0.73 $656.66 12.47
34 Congo Africa (Sub-Saharan) $150 $2,660 4.45 $11,353.78 1.32
35 Cook Islands Oceania $16   0.01    
36 Costa Rica America (North and Central) $38 $9,550 4.87 $48,525.75 0.08
37 Cote d'Ivoire Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,262 $1,380 20.32 $29,795.63 4.24
38 Croatia (b) Europe          
39 Cuba America (North and Central) $101   11.27    
40 Democratic People's Republic of Korea Asia (Far East) $109   24.90    
41 Democratic Republic of the Congo Africa (Sub-Saharan) $2,572 $400 67.51 $27,818.76 9.25
42 Developing countries unspecified Worldwide $30,236        
43 Djibouti Africa (Sub-Saharan) $153   0.87    
44 Dominica America (North and Central) $20 $6,760 0.07 $493.33 4.03
45 Dominican Republic America (North and Central) $148 $5,620 10.40 $57,805.94 0.26
46 Ecuador America (South) $148 $5,510 15.74 $88,649.67 0.17
47 Egypt Africa (Saharan) $5,506 $3,160 82.06 $266,219.49 2.07
48 El Salvador America (North and Central) $171 $3,720 6.34 $23,418.00 0.73
49 Equatorial Guinea Africa (Sub-Saharan) $6 $14,320 0.76 $10,735.48 0.05
50 Eritrea Africa (Sub-Saharan) $84 $490 6.33 $3,412.88 2.45
51 Ethiopia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $3,826 $470 94.10 $46,772.45 8.18
52 Europe, regional Europe $795        
53 Far East Asia, regional Asia (Far East) $238        
54 Fiji Oceania $91 $4,430 0.88 $3,855.76 2.36
55 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Europe $252 $4,800 2.11 $9,978.12 2.52
56 Gabon Africa (Sub-Saharan) $91 $10,650 1.67 $17,298.19 0.53
57 Gambia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $111 $510 1.85 $886.55 12.50
58 Georgia Asia (South and Central) $653 $3,570 4.48 $15,840.45 4.12
59 Ghana Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,331 $1,760 25.90 $46,795.90 2.84
60 Grenada America (North and Central) $10 $7,460 0.11 $806.30 1.24
61 Guatemala America (North and Central) $494 $3,340 15.47 $52,557.31 0.94
62 Guinea Africa (Sub-Saharan) $500 $460 11.75 $5,745.39 8.69
63 Guinea-Bissau Africa (Sub-Saharan) $104 $520 1.70 $857.75 12.08
64 Guyana America (South) $102 $3,750 0.80 $3,074.43 3.31
65 Haiti America (North and Central) $1,171 $810 10.32 $8,520.71 13.74
66 Honduras America (North and Central) $628 $2,180 8.10 $17,239.45 3.64
67 India Asia (South and Central) $2,436 $1,570 1,252.14 $1,855,591.35 0.13
68 Indonesia Asia (Far East) $53 $3,580 249.87 $841,475.34 0.01
69 Iran Asia (Middle East) $131 $5,780 77.45 $369,271.86 0.04
70 Iraq Asia (Middle East) $1,541 $6,710 33.42 $223,351.95 0.69
71 Jamaica America (North and Central) $70 $5,220 2.72 $13,707.64 0.51
72 Jordan Asia (Middle East) $1,408 $4,950 6.46 $33,339.01 4.22
73 Kazakhstan Asia (South and Central) $91 $11,380 17.04 $198,929.62 0.05
74 Kenya Africa (Sub-Saharan) $3,236 $930 44.35 $43,762.39 7.40
75 Kiribati Oceania $64 $2,620 0.10 $252.94 25.48
76 Kosovo Europe $533 $3,890 1.82 $7,121.61 7.48
77 Kyrgyzstan Asia (South and Central) $537 $1,200 5.72 $6,911.19 7.76
78 Lao People's Democratic Republic Asia (Far East) $421 $1,460 6.77 $10,589.73 3.98
79 Lebanon Asia (Middle East) $626 $9,870 4.47 $44,926.34 1.39
80 Lesotho Africa (Sub-Saharan) $320 $1,550 2.07 $2,861.49 11.18
81 Liberia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $534 $410 4.29 $1,751.03 30.51
82 Libya Africa (Saharan) $129   6.20    
83 Madagascar Africa (Sub-Saharan) $500 $440 22.92 $10,453.49 4.78
84 Malawi Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,126 $270 16.36 $3,574.19 31.50
85 Malaysia Asia (Far East) -$119 $10,400 29.72 $301,267.57 -0.04
86 Maldives Asia (South and Central) $23 $5,600 0.35 $1,952.47 1.17
87 Mali Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,391 $670 15.30 $10,272.74 13.54
88 Marshall Islands Oceania $94 $4,200 0.05 $218.00 43.01
89 Mauritania Africa (Sub-Saharan) $291 $1,060 3.89 $3,892.41 7.48
90 Mauritius Africa (Sub-Saharan) $148 $9,300 1.30 $11,952.38 1.24
91 Mayotte (b) Africa (Sub-Saharan)          
92 Mexico America (North and Central) $561 $9,940 122.33 $1,234,127.07 0.05
93 Micronesia Oceania $143 $3,430 0.10 $362.00 39.50
94 Middle East, regional Asia (Middle East) $5,856        
95 Moldova Europe $374 $2,460 3.56 $8,812.11 4.25
96 Mongolia Asia (Far East) $428 $3,770 2.84 $10,751.45 3.98
97 Montenegro Europe $127 $7,260 0.62 $4,514.77 2.82
98 Montserrat America (North and Central) $55   0.01    
99 Morocco Africa (Saharan) $1,966 $3,030 33.01 $101,519.01 1.94
100 Mozambique Africa (Sub-Saharan) $2,314 $590 25.83 $15,312.99 15.11
101 Myanmar Asia (South and Central) $3,935   53.26    
102 Namibia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $262 $5,840 2.30 $12,456.30 2.10
103 Nauru Oceania $29   0.01    
104 Nepal Asia (South and Central) $871 $730 27.80 $19,443.42 4.48
105 Nicaragua America (North and Central) $497 $1,780 6.08 $10,942.33 4.54
106 Niger Africa (Sub-Saharan) $773 $410 17.83 $7,317.44 10.57
107 Nigeria Africa (Sub-Saharan) $2,529 $2,710 173.62 $499,041.44 0.51
108 Niue Oceania $18   0.00    
109 North & Central America, regional America (North and Central) $397        
110 North of Sahara, regional Africa (Saharan) $203        
111 Oceania, regional Oceania (Other) $268        
112 Oman (b) Asia (Middle East)          
113 Pakistan Asia (South and Central) $2,174 $1,380 182.14 $248,002.03 0.88
114 Palau Oceania $35 $10,970 0.02 $237.98 14.82
115 Panama America (North and Central) $7 $10,700 3.86 $42,387.00 0.02
116 Papua New Guinea Oceania $656 $2,010 7.32 $14,641.57 4.48
117 Paraguay America (South) $129 $4,040 6.80 $28,446.81 0.46
118 Peru America (South) $368 $6,390 30.38 $195,232.16 0.19
119 Philippines Asia (Far East) $190 $3,270 98.39 $325,827.52 0.06
120 Rwanda Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,081 $620 11.78 $7,337.30 14.73
121 Saint Helena Africa (Sub-Saharan) $139   0.01    
122 Saint Kitts and Nevis America (North and Central) $29 $13,460 0.05 $724.07 4.05
123 Saint Lucia America (North and Central) $24 $7,090 0.18 $1,306.30 1.86
124 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines America (North and Central) $8 $6,580 0.11 $721.85 1.05
125 Samoa Oceania $118 $3,430 0.19 $665.06 17.76
126 Sao Tome and Principe Africa (Sub-Saharan) $52 $1,470 0.19 $308.18 16.79
127 Senegal Africa (Sub-Saharan) $983 $1,070 14.13 $14,974.46 6.56
128 Serbia Europe $783 $5,730 7.16 $41,314.51 1.90
129 Seychelles Africa (Sub-Saharan) $25 $12,530 0.09 $1,220.08 2.08
130 Sierra Leone Africa (Sub-Saharan) $444 $680 6.09 $4,482.91 9.90
131 Solomon Islands Oceania $288 $1,610 0.56 $960.50 30.02
132 Somalia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $992   10.50    
133 South Africa Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,293 $7,190 52.98 $343,242.95 0.38
134 South America, regional America (South) $268        
135 South and Central Asia, regional Asia (South and Central) $438        
136 South of Sahara, regional Africa (Sub-Saharan) $2,265        
137 South Sudan (c) Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,447 $1,120 11.30 $12,942.03 11.18
138 Sri Lanka Asia (South and Central) $423 $3,170 20.48 $65,362.56 0.65
139 States Ex-Yugoslavia Europe $4        
140 Sudan Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,163 $1,130 37.96 $46,768.42 2.49
141 Suriname America (South) $30 $9,260 0.54 $5,111.82 0.58
142 Swaziland Africa (Sub-Saharan) $116 $3,080 1.25 $3,530.27 3.28
143 Syrian Arab Republic Asia (Middle East) $3,627   22.85    
144 Tajikistan Asia (South and Central) $382 $990 8.21 $8,457.87 4.52
145 Tanzania Africa (Sub-Saharan) $3,430 $630 49.25 $32,817.43 10.45
146 Thailand Asia (Far East) -$24 $5,370 67.01 $363,544.95 -0.01
147 Timor-Leste Asia (Far East) $258 $3,580 1.18 $4,619.00 5.58
148 Togo Africa (Sub-Saharan) $221 $530 6.82 $3,696.32 5.97
149 Tokelau Oceania $24   0.00    
150 Tonga Oceania $80 $4,490 0.11 $478.96 16.78
151 Trinidad and Tobago (b) America (North and Central)          
152 Tunisia Africa (Saharan) $714 $4,360 10.89 $46,566.14 1.53
153 Turkey Europe $2,741 $10,950 74.93 $810,860.07 0.34
154 Turkmenistan Asia (South and Central) $37 $6,880 5.24 $38,617.54 0.10
155 Tuvalu Oceania $27 $6,630 0.01 $62.75 42.53
156 Uganda Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,693 $510 37.58 $20,806.19 8.13
157 Ukraine Europe $801 $3,960 45.49 $180,979.15 0.44
158 Uruguay America (South) $36 $15,180 3.41 $53,835.34 0.07
159 Uzbekistan Asia (South and Central) $293 $1,900 30.24 $58,687.06 0.50
160 Vanuatu Oceania $91 $3,130 0.25 $793.94 11.41
161 Venezuela America (South) $35 $12,550 30.41 $431,079.53 0.01
162 Viet Nam Asia (Far East) $4,085 $1,730 89.71 $162,820.46 2.51
163 Wallis and Futuna Oceania $106   0.02    
164 West Bank and Gaza Strip Asia (Middle East) $2,610   4.17    
165 West Indies, regional America (North and Central) $135        
166 Yemen Asia (Middle East) $1,004 $1,330 24.41 $34,721.48 2.89
167 Zambia Africa (Sub-Saharan) $1,142 $1,480 14.54 $21,628.33 5.28
168 Zimbabwe Africa (Sub-Saharan) $811 $820 14.15 $11,784.36 6.88
TOTAL     $150,086        
a) ODA receipts are total net ODA flows from DAC countries, multilateral organisations, and non-DAC countries (see Table 33 for the list of non-DAC countries for which data are available).
b) These countries left the DAC List of ODA Recipients on 1 January 2011.
c) These countries joined the DAC List of ODA Recipients on 1 January 2011.
d) World Bank Atlas basis.
OECD's Data Source: World Bank, Secretariat estimates. Group totals and averages are calculated on available data only.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Total receipts in this Table 3 round off to $151 billion, which varies from the $134 billion distributed in Table 1. This rounded $16 billion discrepancy between distributions (Table 1) and receipts (Table 3) exists because Table 3 also contains the $16 billion distributed by the non-DAC countries listed in Table 2.
Count Recipients of Foreign Aid Region Net ODA Receipts (USD million) 2013 GNI/CAP (d) USD 2013 Population (million) 2013 Current GNI (USD million) 2013 ODA/GNI (percent) 2013

According to the OECD's data, top Table 1 above indicates that the USA donated the most in terms of absolute dollars in 2013 at $30,879,000,000 (billion) dollars. The USA's donation represented 0.18% of the USA's gross national income. Norway's donation of $5,581,000,000 (billion) dollars represented 1.07% of its gross national income. Norway was the most generous donor country in 2013, that is, as a percentage of its gross national income.

Middle Table 2 above indicates that, for non-DAC countries, Saudi Arabia donated the most in absolute dollars in 2013 at $5,683,000,000 (billion) dollars. For non-DAC countries, the United Arab Emirates's donation of $5,402,000,000 (billion) dollars represented 1.34% of its gross national income, thus, making it the overall most generous donor country on the planet in 2013, that is, as a percentage of its gross national income gifted in the form of foreign aid.

Bottom Table 3 above shows where the aid went; the aid itself was listed in Tables 1 and 2. Table 3 indicates that Egypt received the most foreign aid in 2013 at $5,856,000,000 (billion) dollars. Egypt's gross national income for the year 2013 averaged $3,160 per person. Foreign aid represented 2.07% of Egypt's gross national income. Egypt's population in 2013 was 82,000,000 million human inhabitants.

Table 3 indicates that the $94,000,000 (million) dollars received by the Marshall Islands in 2013 also turned out to represent almost half of its total economy at 43% of its gross national income. The Marshall Islands's population in 2013 was 50,000 human inhabitants.

There is a lot more information to be gleaned from Table 3. The results mentioned here are just high-level summaries.

The following link provides a comprehensive view of global foreign aid as tracked by the OECD:

Read (Development Co-operation Report 2014: Mobilising Resources for Sustainable Development)


Controversy swirls surround foreign aid, which is not surprising given that a lot of money is involved. On the giving end of the foreign aid controversy spectrum, controversies run the gamut from its valuation and type of aid given to its measurement and effectiveness in reducing poverty. On the receiving end of the foreign aid controversy spectrum, controversies run the gamut from corruption and fraud in its handling to the diversion and misappropriation of its use.

One of the biggest criticisms of bilateral foreign is this: Bilateral foreign aid tends to come with a measure of quid pro quo attached to it and with lots of politicking involved in the process at least in the case of the USA. Strings are attached to the aid in the sense that advancing the strategic interests of the donor country seems to play a pivotal role in determining how the aid is allocated and to whom it is allocated rather than the allocation of aid being based strictly on the economic needs of the recipient country. Also, historical and strategic ties between donor and recipient country sometimes seem to play very important roles in determining how the aid is allocated and to whom rather than the allocation of aid being based strictly on the economic needs of the recipient country.

Watch (Foreign Aid and Foreign Assistance)

Watch (Recipients and Donors: Basic Facts)

For instance, China has completed some commendable development projects in Africa. The unanswered question is this: Are the Chinese undertaking these development projects out of the goodness of their hearts and out of a genuine desire to see Africa advance in its development, or are the Chinese undertaking these development projects to gain access to an abundant supply of raw materials? When all is said and done, the motives of the Chinese probably are a little bit of both—altruism combined with strategic self-interest.

Another big criticism of foreign aid is this: Some of the more conservative members of USA society tend to view foreign assistance exactly the same as they view domestic public assistance (also known as public welfare). That is, they view foreign aid as yet another big, wasteful government welfare giveaway of tax money to the undeserved. Some of the more conservative members of USA society tend to view those who receive domestic welfare as lazy bummers who do not like to do anything with their lives except sit around all day and mooch off of those who go to work and pay taxes. They view welfare as a waste of taxpayer money. They bitterly oppose the government spending of taxpayer money on welfare programs. They view the entire welfare system as a form of taking money from their pockets (through mandatory taxation) and transferring it into the pockets of the poor who, in turn, they think will waste most of their welfare receipts on undesirable things like the purchase of tobacco, liquor, junk foods, and drugs.

One thing is certain about foreign aid, and it is this: Despite the criticisms, to do something to improve the human condition is better than doing nothing at all. Can you imagine what the human death toll would be if the world had decided to do nothing about the latest Ebola outbreak in the year 2014? Foreign aid made all of the difference in the world in containing the Ebola outbreak—and charitable assistance, too, made a world of difference in containing Ebola such as the heroic work of Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or, say, the $100 million dollars pledged to fight Ebola by billionaire and philanthropist Paul Allen. The world owes a debt of gratitude to the Ebola workers and to all who donated money or who committed other kinds of resources to containing the spread of Ebola. On behalf of all Ebola survivors, I would like to say, "Thank you."

Watch (UNDP - Human Development Report 2014)

Without going overboard with reform or without going to the extreme of throwing the foreign aid baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, I think that there is always room for improvement or refinement of the foreign aid paradigm. After all, the ultimate goal or the entire point of foreign aid is to eliminate the need for foreign aid.


In closing this discussion of foreign aid, there is one experimental program that I would like to see launched. I would like to see the formation of a Talented Tenth Percent organization. On the one hand, experts are needed to teach inhabitants in undeveloped regions of Earth how to build and maintain an infrastructure—for instance, sewage-treatment facilities; water-treatment facilities; power grids; farm and irrigation networks; roads; transportation networks; communications networks; schools; hospitals; factories; offices; stores; housing; banking systems and financial networks; and so forth. On the other hand, those who live in undeveloped regions who are undergoing development must learn how to become self-sufficient. They must take the reins of development and run with them, not stagnate with them.

The main obstacles to global development are a lack of money and a lack of will power. It takes money to pay the salaries of nation builders. It takes a lot of money to purchase the required building materials to transform underdeveloped regions into developed ones. Talent alone will not bring development to fruition. Talent must be augmented by money. Those humans and businesses with the wherewithal to build nations, generally speaking, will accept jobs in undeveloped regions only on the condition that comparable or competitive salaries are offered to them.

Billions of dollars are spent each year on both foreign and domestic aid. I am a proponent of the idea that some of these billions could be re-directed to support the launch of a Talented Tenth Percent organization for global development. I am sure that there are many professionals who would be eager to go abroad and teach citizens in undeveloped countries how to foster developed styles of living if the proper financial incentives were present. Given the proper financial incentives, I also am convinced that many small business owners would be willing to commit to participating in the Talented Tenth Percent organization by dispatching some of their workers overseas to complete some of these teaching assignments.

I am a proponent of the idea that some of the foreign-aid billions currently being spent each year could be channeled to the Talented Ten Percent organization to pay the annual salaries of the Talented Tenth participants. Besides paying the annual salaries of Talented Tenth Percent participants, the Talented Tenth Percent participants should be given free room and board in their host countries as well as monthly stipends. The Talented Tenth percent participants should also be provided with free air transportation to return home periodically throughout the year for brief visits with their families if they wish to do so.

In exchange for the salaries, room, board, stipends, and travel vouchers, the Talented Tenth Percent participants would go abroad to a chosen undeveloped country and live for, say, 5 years. Not only would the Talented Tenth Percent participants teach citizens of undeveloped countries how to read, write, perform basic arithmetic, and use the computer but also they would teach them how to become self-sufficient. For instance, the Talented Tenth Percent participants could teach them how to build and operate modern farms and irrigation systems; how to build houses and shops complete with electricity and in-door plumbing; how to build water and sewage treatment facilities, and so forth. These teachings, for instance, could deploy the use of green technologies and solar energy as central components of the development process.

Given the proper financial incentives and notwithstanding a possible language barrier or the dangers to their physical well-being that some Talented Tenth Percent participants might encounter while living in developing countries, I am convinced that there are thousands of talented and skilled citizens living in First World countries who would love to serve humanity by accepting teaching assignments in Third World countries. The Talented Tenth Percent participants would teach the citizens of Third World countries how to develop and sustain their own economies. Some of the billions of dollars currently being spent annually as foreign aid can be spent to fund the Talented Tenth Percent organization and provide participants with the materials and supplies that they would need to augment their teaching assignments abroad. In effect, this Talented Tenth Percent concept is nothing more than the Peace Corps concept "on steroids," so to speak.

The Talented Tenth Percent participants would be devoted to teaching people how to help themselves. I am reminded on an ancient Chinese proverb that says, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." This proverb applies to what needs to be done to strengthen the current foreign-aid paradigm. By allocating some foreign aid monies to the Talented Tenth Percent organization, the idea is to encourage more private participation in helping citizens in developing countries to help themselves. The Talented Tenth Percent participants would be required to document their efforts and to periodically post the results of their efforts on, say, quarterly to a public Talented Tenth Percent progress-tracking website.

The reader should note that the Talented Tenth concept was publicized by W.E.B. Du Bois. In his debate with Booker T. Washington about how best to lift black Americans out of poverty. W.E.B. DuBois argued that the Talented Tenth percent of black Americans should step forward, use their respective talents, and lead the way in helping to lift black USA residents out of poverty. Booker T. Washington, on the other hand, argued that black Americans should seek to become entrepreneurs and start businesses and factories in their right. Possibly due to a lack of financial resources and expertise to erect factories, most black Americans opted to follow the teachings of W.E.B. DuBois and his advice for blacks to integrate or melt into the mainstream of USA society as full participants.

Naturally, teaching alone will not likely solve the problems of world poverty and global development. There is also a mindset dimension to the problem. Third World citizens who receive the teaching must commit themselves to leading principled and disciplined lives in order for their newly acquired knowledge and skills to sustain them.

I encourage citizens in undeveloped countries to heed the wisdom of King Solomon when he mused:

     29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to
his work.
     30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
     31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and needles had covered the face thereof, and
the stone wall thereof was broken down.
     32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked on it, and received instruction.
     33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
     34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Excerpted from the Holy Bible (King James Version), Proverbs: Chapter 24: Verses 29-34

In other words, citizens in developing countries must find a way to overcome a slum mindset or to rise above a slum mentality. Citizens in developing countries must begin to behave like winners. Citizens in developing countries must embrace education and the scientific educational method. Leaders in developing countries must set good examples for citizens to emulate. Leaders in developing countries can begin the process of change by abandoning retrogressive practices such corruption, bribery, and stealing, for instance. Leaders in developing countries must always place the national interest ahead of self-interest.

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Shining Star)

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, You Are a Winner)



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