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This publication provides preliminary statistics about the amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA) the UK provided in 2017, including UK ODA as a proportion of GNI (the ODA:GNI ratio) and various other breakdowns of ODA spend. ODA1 is the internationally-agreed classification of foreign aid financing and is measured in accordance with international standards.
The spend figures presented in this publication are provisional and based on summary data with limited sector and geography breakdowns, Project-level ODA information is currently only available for DFID. GNI estimates are revised by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) each quarter as more economic data becomes available2. A final estimate of UK ODA, the ODA:GNI ratio and more detailed breakdowns of spend will be published in autumn 2018 in ‘Statistics on International Development’ (SID)3. SID will use the estimate of GNI for 2017 published by the ONS in September 2018. More information about the UK governments approach to aid spending is set out in the UK Aid Strategy4.
The ODA:GNI target of 0.7% was first agreed internationally in 1970 by the United Nations General Assembly. The UK government made a commitment to invest 0.7% of GNI on ODA from 2013. In 2015 the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act placed the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA in UK law from 2015 and in each subsequent calendar year.
Key Definition: Official Development Assistance
Official Development Assistance (ODA) is produced according to standardised definitions and methodologies controlled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA is defined as resource flows to developing countries and multilateral organisations, which are provided by official agencies (e.g. the UK Government) or their executive agencies, and each transaction meets the following tests:
- it is administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective
- it is concessional in character and conveys a grant element1 of at least 25%
The OECD rules for counting loans in ODA are changing for 2018 ODA statistics, for more information please see background note. ↩
A glossary, explaining key terms used throughout this report, is available in Annex 1 of SID.
- the provisional ODA:GNI ratio for 2017 is 0.7%
- In 2017 the amount of ODA provided by the UK Government increased by 4.2% to £13,933 million. This represented an increase of £555 million, up from £13,377 million in 2016.
- ODA can be bilateral (where the donor has earmarked spend for a specific country, activity, project or programme) or multilateral (where funds from national governments are pooled with other donors’ funding and disbursed as part of the core budget of the multilateral organisation). In 2017 UK bilateral ODA was £8,698 million while UK multilateral ODA was £5,234 million.
- Bilateral ODA increased by £164 million (1.9%) and multilateral ODA increased by £391 million (8.1%) compared to 2016.
- In 2017, 62.4% of UK ODA was bilateral; 37.6% was core multilateral contributions. These proportions remain broadly in line with the shares in 2016
- The Department for International Development provided 72.5 per cent of total UK ODA in 2017, down from 73.8 per cent in 2016. The share of other UK ODA contributors (this includes other Government Departments and non-departmental contributors) was 27.5%, up from 26.2% in 2016.
- Statistics on bilateral ODA by geographic region are currently only available for DFID spend. As a percentage of DFID’s bilateral country or region-specific spending, Africa received the largest share (58.6%) in 2017, representing £2,594 million of the total
The ODA:GNI Ratio
The ODA:GNI ratio presents the level of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) against Gross National Income (GNI).
Table 1 shows that in 2017:
- the ODA:GNI ratio is 0.7%. The commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA has been met
- UK ODA was £13,933 million, an increase of £555 million (4.2%) on 2016
Figure 1 shows the trend in UK ODA since 1970. Overall there has been a steady increase in the level of UK ODA since 1970, with a peak in 2005 and 2006 which was driven by high levels of debt relief5, and a steep increase in 2013 when the UK Government first met the 0.7% ODA:GNI target.
The jump in the level of ODA in 2016 reflects the switch to the European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010 methodology for measuring GNI and the consequent need to increase UK ODA to meet the 0.7% ODA target.
Figure 1: UK ODA levels between 1970 and 2017
UK Bilateral and Multilateral ODA
There are 2 main channels of delivery for ODA, bilateral and multilateral.
- Bilateral ODA is earmarked spend which the donor has control over – this is usually ODA going to specific countries, regions or programmes. Bilateral ODA also includes funding to multilateral organisations for specific programmes or in specific countries; this is referred to as ‘bilateral ODA through a multilateral organisation’
- Multilateral ODA describes funds from national governments which are pooled with other donors’ funding and disbursed as part of the core budget of the multilateral organisation. Core contributions will fluctuate from year to year in part due to the payment schedules of the receiving multilateral organisation
Table 2 shows that in 2017:
- £8,698 million of ODA was delivered through bilateral channels, an increase of £164 million on 2016. Of total UK ODA, 10.1% (£1,407 million) was for humanitarian assistance
- Spend on UK humanitarian assistance increased by £123 million compared with 2016 and this mainly reflects the response to the East African drought6 and other crises such as the Yemen conflict.
- £5,234 million were core contributions to multilaterals, an increase of £391 million from 2016. As a percentage of total UK ODA, core multilateral funding represented 37.5% of the total
- The increase in multilateral ODA was mainly driven by higher core contributions to the International Monetary Fund Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (IMF-PRGT) 7 and the World Bank in 2017 compared with 2016, resulting in a 8.1% rise in multilateral ODA overall. By contrast, bilateral ODA rose by 1.9% between 2016 and 2017
Breakdown of UK ODA by government departments, cross-government funds and non-department sources
The overall amount of ODA spent is determined by the size of GNI, however the percentage shares of departments and other ODA contributors change within the overall amount with changes in spending in the year. Table 3 shows the contribution of government departments and other contributors of UK ODA in 2017. It shows:
Largest Contributors of UK ODA
- DFID spent £10,105 million of ODA (72.5% of total UK ODA) in 2017. This was an increase of £234 million (or 2.4%) compared with 2016. In 2016 DFID share of total ODA was 73.8% of the total
- ODA spent by departments other than DFID and other contributors of UK ODA was £3,828 million in 2017, an increase of 9.2 per cent (or £322 million) on 2016. Non-DFID ODA represented 27.5 per cent of total ODA in 2017.
In 2017 the largest largest department shares of ODA were:
- the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (5.5% of ODA)
- the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (4.0%)8
- the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (4.0%)
- the Home Office (2.4%)
- The largest non-departmental sources were the UK’s contribution to the IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), which amounted to £726 million (5.2%). The contribution goes towards the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility, which provides developing countries such as Ghana, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan with flexible medium term support to promote economic and financial stability and their economic growth. The other large non-departmental source was the non-DFID EU9 attribution which was £445 million (3.2% of UK ODA)
Largest changes in amount of ODA
- IMF-PRGT ODA increased by £280 million, from £446 million in 2016 to £726 million to 2017. This accounted for over 50% of the overall increase (£555 million) in UK ODA in 2017
- BEIS, which tackles climate change and supports research in developing countries, spent £769 million of ODA in 2017 - an increase of £73 million on 2016
- Department of Health and Social Care spent £101 million in 2017, which was more than double the amount of ODA they spent in 2016 (£46 million). This primarily reflected increased funding to develop new vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential and health research for the main benefit of patients and the public in low- and middle-income countries.
- The UK’s share of the EU developmental budget (EU attribution) decreased by £92 million to £884 million. The decrease was due to exchange rate movements and a slight reduction in the UK’s overall share of the EU budget in 2017
The analysis presented in Table 3 is based on summary provisional returns from government departments, and more detailed spending data will be available in Statistics on International Development published in autumn 2018.
Trend in departmental and other contributors’ share of UK ODA
- In 2017 both DFID and non-DFID ODA increased compared with 2016. However, over recent years DFID’s share of ODA has fallen as more ODA is delivered by departments other than DFID, this is in line with the approach set out in the UK Aid Strategy, which states “to respond to the changing world, more aid will be administered by other government departments, drawing on their complementary skills”. In 2017 DFID accounted for 72.5% of UK ODA, whereas 5 years ago (2013) it accounted for 87.8%
Figure 2: Proportion of UK ODA accounted for by DFID, Other Government Departments and Other contributors of ODA: 2013 to 2017
The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is a cross-government fund which has a mix of ODA and non-ODA resources. Any National Security Council (NSC10) department and related agency can bid for these funds. The NSC is responsible for the overall delivery of the CSSF while individual spending departments are responsible for managing CSSF spend.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office remained the largest recipient, spending 69.6% of total CSSF ODA. Table 4 below shows CSSF by spending department in 2016 and 2017.
The cross-government Prosperity Fund11 introduced in April 2016, promotes economic reform and development in recipient countries. Departments bid for the funds and the Fund is overseen by a Ministerial Board that sets overall strategic direction, but individual departments are accountable for their own spending and delivery under the fund. In 2017, £46 million of ODA was delivered through the fund. A Departmental breakdown of the Prosperity Fund will be available in “Statistics for International Development: Final UK aid spend 2017”, published in autumn 2018.
DFID Region-Specific Bilateral ODA
Figure 3 presents the breakdown of DFID’s region-specific bilateral ODA. These figures do not represent the total UK ODA expenditure for each region because they do not include expenditure by government departments other than DFID, other contributors of UK ODA, core contributions to multilateral organisations, or expenditure that is not assigned to a specific country or region.
- in 2017, Africa received £2,594 million of bilateral ODA from DFID. This was an increase of £51 million compared to 2016 and largely reflected spending in some East African countries affected by the drought, such as Somalia
- Africa remained the largest recipient of DFID bilateral ODA (58.6% of the total)
- In 2017, Asia received £1,572 million of bilateral ODA from DFID – a fall of £149 million on 2016. The fall reflects a drop in spending in countries affected by the Syrian refugee crisis compared with 2016, most notably in Jordan where the UK’s full contribution to the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility for Jordan was made in 2016.
Figure 3: DFID’s Region-Specific Bilateral ODA 2016-2017
Regional breakdowns are not yet available for non-DFID expenditure; ODA spend by region will be presented for all UK expenditure in the ‘Statistics on International Development’ publication that will be published later in the year.
DFID Non-Region-Specific Bilateral ODA
Bilateral ODA spend by DFID on projects which were not assigned to any single recipient country or region amounted to £1,887 million in 2017, this accounts for 29.9% of DFID’s total bilateral ODA expenditure. This consists of, for example, centrally-funded research and other global public goods or programmes that develop policies that benefit several developing countries, and cannot be meaningfully recorded to a single benefitting country or region. Figure 4 provides a breakdown of this expenditure.
Figure 4: Breakdown of DFID’s Non-Region Specific Bilateral ODA in 2017
Definitions and Sources
Information on definitions and sources used in this publication can be found in Annexes 2 and 3 respectively of the Statistics on International Development publication.
Revisions and Changes to the Publication
The revisions process is set out in DFID’s Revisions Policy.
Since publishing final 2016 ODA figures in autumn 2017, the OECD DAC have taken some decisions that affect 2016 ODA statistics. We have therefore revised the data for 2016 in the main tables of Statistics on International Development and the underlying data to be consistent with this change. The spend areas affected are detailed below:
- DEFRA conventions with UNEP – reduced by £1m to reflect that the conventions do not benefit all ODA eligible countries. Spend on Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions have been deemed ineligible by the OECD DAC and removed from 2016 data
- The UK’s Contribution to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey – reduced by £2.5 million to reflect a small element of the facility’s function deemed ineligible for 2016. 97% of the contribution can be counted as ODA instead. This change applies to all DAC donors’ contribution to the facility not just the UK
The sum of these changes is a reduction of £3.5 million of ODA in 2016. The total UK ODA figure for 2016 now stands at £13,377 million, instead of the previously reported £13,381 million. The ODA:GNI ratio in 2016 is not significantly affected by these small changes and remains at 0.7 per cent.
ODA spending and reporting
The UK target to spend 0.7% of GNI on ODA is measured on the basis of final ODA spending and the GNI estimates published by the ONS at the end of September in the year following the target year. During the spending year, DFID and HMT monitor ODA spending and the latest information on GNI to ensure the 0.7% target is met.
UK ODA spend includes DFID spend, non-DFID departmental spend and other sources of ODA (such as EU attribution and Gift Aid). DFID and HMT monitor spend by other departments and funds during the year and estimate the likely contribution from non-departmental sources of ODA. DFID and HMT monitor movements in GNI during the year using estimates of GNI produced by the ONS and GNI forecasts published by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). While DFID can control its own spending on ODA, DFID cannot control GNI nor can it fully control spending by other government departments and other sources of ODA. After final decisions on DFID ODA spending are made the GNI estimate can still shift, so can the amount of ODA spent by other government departments and ODA contributions from non-departmental sources.
DFID is responsible for collating data and reporting spend on ODA to the Organisation of Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD), including the 0.7 ODA:GNI ratio commitment.
The ONS produce a first preliminary estimate of GNI for 2017 in the first quarter of 2018. In the spring DFID compile preliminary ODA data for 2017 from ARIES and the aggregate spending returns of the other government departments and other contributors to UK ODA. The first estimate of GNI and preliminary ODA data are used to calculate the provisional estimate of the ODA:GNI ratio, in this publication.
Between the spring and the autumn the ODA spending of DFID and other government departments are finalised. Other government departments will provide project-level details that allow the ODA spend to be quality assured. The ONS will release a further update of GNI for 2017, which is published in September. The final ODA data and the updated September GNI estimate for 2017 are then used to calculate the final ODA:GNI ratio in the autumn publication, and to report to the OECD.
The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) was introduced in 2015, replacing the DFID, FCO and MoD Conflict Pool. The CSSF pools new and existing resources from across government into one fund, under the strategic direction of the National Security Council (NSC). The fund provides the UK’s contribution to multilateral peacekeeping, security and defence activities, and a larger budget for programmes in countries at risk of instability, some of which can be classed as ODA.
The cross-Government Prosperity Fund was introduced in 2016, replacing the FCO Prosperity Fund. The new fund, which is accountable to a cross-government board, promotes economic reform and development in recipient countries and contributes to poverty reduction in ODA-eligible countries. For more information please see the Prosperity Fund website.
The estimate for the UK’s share of the EU ODA budget in 2017 is £884 million compared to £976 million in 2016. EU attribution fluctuates from year to year because the EU works on a 7 year programming cycle and so EU disbursements in a given year can vary. The estimate in 2016 and 2017 is based on published data from the European Commission on the UK’s share of development expenditure. This replaces the methodology prior to 2016, which used line by line items of the EU budget to estimate the UK’s share of EU ODA.
To avoid double counting a small part of the EU attribution figure for the UK’s contribution to EU peacekeeping is reported in these statistics by the CSSF as the fund responsible for this spending. This does not affect the overall EU attribution figure.
The ONS publish revisions to GNI estimates as more economic data becomes available. The provisional ODA:GNI ratio is always based on the GNI estimate published in March and the final ratio is based on the GNI estimate published by the ONS in September. To enable comparability against international data we do not revise the back series to take into account any further revisions made to GNI estimates.
The recent changes on how we have reported the ODA:GNI ratio in previous editions of SID were described in the Statistics on International Development: 2017 publication.
This year’s reporting of detailed 2017 ODA flow information will include multiple sector code reporting, which has been introduced by the OECD. This change allows up to 10 sector codes to be assigned to a project activity and hence provides a more detailed picture of project spend by sector. It replaces the previous methodology where the sector with the largest budget represented the sector assigned to the project as a whole. We will publish alongside SID in autumn 2018 an analysis of the impact of this methodology change. For more information about the OECD change in methodology please see their note.
Most of the UK bilateral funding is in the form of grants, and therefore the new “grant-equivalent” basis for reporting ODA is expected to have minimal effect on total UK ODA.
Over this summer we will be carrying out 3 methodological reviews of the ODA estimate on Gift Aid costs, the in-donor refugee costs and the FCO’s frontline delivery activity administrative costs. Further details of these reviews can be found on the statistics website.
Timing and Releases
Final 2017 ODA data will be available in the 2018 edition of Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2017, which will be available from the DFID website or from the National Statistics publication Hub in autumn 2018. The final publication date for SID will be pre-announced on the online timetable.
Provisional 2017 ODA statistics for all members of the OECD will be published by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in April 2018, final data is normally published by the OECD in December.
Data for this publication comes from the following sources:
DFID’s ARIES database that records financial transactions relating to DFID payments and receipts. It also includes information on the dates of transactions, where the transactions took place and in which sector. This is information is primarily inputted by spending teams in DFID country offices and central departments, with some quality assurance carried out at input and centrally to ensure that spend is in line with OECD definitions of ODA
other Government Departments and contributors have similar databases to record transaction data – although some accounting systems are unable to provide calendar year information (see paragraph 24).
As the data in the publication is largely based on administrative data it is not subject to sampling error. However these provisional statistics may change between now and the final release in autumn 2018 as the data is further audited and assured as part of the closing of accounts and statistical quality assurance processes.
The DAC sets the definitions and classifications for reporting on ODA internationally. These are laid out in the DAC Statistical Reporting Directives12. The statistics shown here are reported in line with these directives and are subjected to a quality assurance process as described in Annex 4 of Statistics on International Development.
The figure presented for the Welsh Assembly Government and Scottish Government represents their estimated spend for the financial year 2017/18 and are used as a proxy for their calendar year 2017 spend. The Welsh Assembly Government and Scottish Government are currently reviewing their reporting procedures with a view to being able to report calendar year figures going forward.
ODA includes official expenditure for the reception of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK during the first 12 months of their stay. This spend is based on estimates of the Home Office’s unit costs to support refugees and asylum seekers, and departmental unit costs to provide education and health services to refugees, in line with the OECD DAC directives.
Related Statistics and Publications
DFID’s Annual Report provides information on DFID’s results achieved, spending, performance and efficiency.
The OECD statistics provide ODA breakdowns for DAC donors (including multilaterals). This source is useful when carrying out international comparisons. Figures for DAC donor’s provisional 2017 ODA will be published in early April.
Uses and users
The main purpose of these statistics is to provide timely summary statistics on ODA expenditure by the UK government. They are published prior to the release of provisional ODA statistics by the OECD DAC for all OECD members.
During a consultation conducted in 2014, users told us that they use the statistics for a variety purposes:
- preparing material for briefs
- PQs and public correspondence
- inclusion in reports and reviews, and providing data for research and monitoring
The users represent the government, civil society and non-government organisations, students and academia and the media.
The Office for Statistics Regulation (part of the United Kingdom Statistics Authority) has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Designation means the statistics carry the National Statistics label and conform to the standards summarised on the opposite page.
In February 2018, the Office for Statistics Regulation published a refreshed Code of Practice for Statistics.
Information on the work of the UK Statistics Authority
For media enquiries please contact the DFID Press Office on 0207 023 0600. For enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this Statistical Release, or for more detailed information, please contact:
Michael Morris – Statistics Adviser
Tel: 020 7023 0497
For further information on development issues and DFID policies, please contact:
Public Enquiry Point: 0845 300 4100
All ODA figures in this release are reported net of loan and other repayments ↩
See background notes ↩