How are China, Saudi Arabia and other non-traditional donors doing on aid?

DAC. But what about non-DAC countries? Development Initiatives has a typically useful update on non-usual suspect aid donors like the Arab countries (led by Saudi Arabia) and rising powers like the BRICs, whose growing international clout is bringing in its wake an increased role in the aid business (as of last week, Brazil had given more to the UN appeal on the Horn than Germany and France combined). As its name suggests ‘Non-DAC donors and Humanitarian Aid’ focuses on emergencies, but takes in long-term development aid along the way. Total aid: “Between 2005 and 2009 foreign assistance from non-DAC donors more than doubled from US$4.6 billion to US$10.4 non DAC aidbillion” (see graph – Middle East countries seem to be very volatile aid donors)…… Foreign assistance from the BRICS grew nominally from US$1.5 billion in 2005 to US$3.7 billion in 2009. Humanitarian Aid: “2010 saw humanitarian aid from non-DAC donors increase by US$67.2 million to US$622.5 million. Saudi Arabia was the largest non-DAC donor, contributing US$255.9 million. Pakistan and Haiti were the largest recipients, receiving US$356.3 million and US$170.5 million respectively.” Non-DAC donors are moving away from traditional bilateral government funding and supporting the multilateral system instead: “The top two donor governments contributing to the Haiti emergency response fund were non-DAC donors – Saudi Arabia, with US$50 million, and Brazil, with US$8 million.” South-South cooperation is on the rise: “In 2011 the Poverty and Hunger Alleviation Fund was established through trilateral agreements between India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) and offered alternative financing for Southern partners. On 21 April 2011 China released its ‘White Paper on Foreign Aid’, which makes a clear commitment to South–South cooperation.” Over time, the non-DAC countries could opt to joint the existing aid structures and adopt the policies and institutions of the traditional aid donors, or they could go their own way, for example blurring the boundaries between aid and investment, or between public and private delivery channels. My money’s on the latter course. I’d appreciate links to any other good overviews of the nature of non-DAC aid, especially China’s. Update: oops, this wasn’t supposed to go up til tomorrow – will make tomorrow a blog free day out of consideration to info overload……..]]>

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10 Responses to “How are China, Saudi Arabia and other non-traditional donors doing on aid?”
  1. Felix Zimmermann

    It’s good to see this issue getting more attention.
    Kimberly Smith and I have just published on this in the Journal of International Development. We share the latest stats on “non-traditional” aid and outline the policy issues still hindering dialogue with “traditional” donors.
    Would welcome all feedback!
    PS: By way of disclaimer: we both work for the OECD DAC Secretariat, but wrote the paper in our personal capacity.

  2. Catherine Dom

    Hi, there were four articles on BRIC and DAC in the Journal of International Development
    J. Int. Dev. 23, 752–764 (2011) But I guess you’ve seen this and don’t know to what extent it’s “overview”. This and the previous together, rather fascinating indeed.

  3. Frederic Jeanjean

    USAID have compiled a good reading list as a starting point ( This includes a very good article by ODI (, which you have probably digested already. Schultz ( explores the emergence of the CIVETS group – Colombia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – as a third group of development players.

  4. Lidia Cabral

    Some of the “non-DAC donors” are getting their act together. The Brazilian govt published at the end of last year its first account of aid given to developing countries ( Its estimates are far below the latest figures suggested by the Economist ( and may indeed underestimate reality, but are a welcome first step towards greater transparency and reflective thinking. But it seems a lot of work is still to be done to come up with a standard definition of aid which is acceptable to these new aid players.
    See ODI ( for some resources on this topic, although not a lot on China yet.

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