How Generous an Aid Donor is Australia?

Australian Aid Policy

Key Points

Australia is not one of the most generous aid donors in the world (using 2012 data, the most recently available year for international comparison).

  1. The most accepted measure of aid generosity (aid as a percentage of GNI) ranks Australia around average.
  2. Even in per capita terms (the measure frequently used by the Australian Foreign Minister), Australia is barely in the top third.
  3. Since 2012, $4.5 billion worth of aid cuts have been announced by the new Australian Government, which will make Australia considerably less generous.

Background

The Australian Foreign Minister has repeatedly made the claim that Australia is ‘one of the most generous aid donors in the world in per capita terms’, however this is simply not the case.

Traditionally aid as a percentage of GNI is used to rank donors in terms of generosity. This measure accounts for the size of a donors’ economy. As such it factors in that Australia is one of the richest countries in the world. The chart below ranks aid donors in terms of aid as a percentage of GNI and it shows that Australia is around average.

GNI

Even using the measure often sited by the Australian Foreign Minister, aid in per capita terms, Australia barely ranks in the top third of donors. The chart below shows that using this measure Australia is still far behind the most generous donors in the world.

Per capita

Australia’s international ranking in both of these measures of aid generosity is set to decline as the Australian Government cuts the aid budget by $4.5 billion. Therefore no matter how you present the data, the evidence is clear: Australia is not one of the most generous aid donors in the world and is set to become even less generous.

Sources

DFAT 2014 <http://aid.dfat.gov.au/Pages/home.aspx>

OECD 2014 <http://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/idsonline.htm>

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