Developed countries have ‘duty to step up’ with aid amid Covid-19

17 Apr 20

International aid will be “critical” in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the OECD has said, as rich countries look to help their developing counterparts through the crisis and continue to increase their aid budgets.


Angel Gurría speaking at the press conference in Paris yesterday. Credit: OECD/Andrew Wheeler

Angel Gurría (credit: OECD/Andrew Wheeler)


OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said the organisation and its member countries are exploring how to work with the most vulnerable countries to weather the economic storm the coronavirus is beginning to cause.

“We now have an additional duty to step up support to those countries facing the harshest impact of all from the coronavirus crisis,” he said.

“The response of development providers in the weeks and months ahead will be a critical force in the global battle against Covid-19. Official development assistance has proved to be recession-proof in the past, including during the 2008 financial crisis, and I am confident it can be again.”

New data has shown that official development assistance from members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee was $152.8bn in 2019, a 1.4% real-terms increase on the year before.

And ODA to the least-developed countries (a group of the poorest 47 nations, classified by the UN) rose by 2.6% in real terms.

“We must build on this positive trend, because this global crisis demands strong global cooperation,” said DAC chair Susanna Moorehead.

“Least developed countries will be the hardest hit by Covid-19. DAC members are already using ODA to help them respond to the double hit of health and economic crises. We need to keep doing so throughout 2020 and beyond.”

In 2019, ODA spending rose in 18 countries on the DAC, but fell in 11. Just five members (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the UK) met the target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid.

Earlier this month, the committee released a joint statement expressing their commitment to “a strong, coordinated, inclusive and coherent global response”, and promising to “strive to protect ODA budgets” during the crisis.

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