As corporate giving gains clout, bilateral aid expected to decrease

A tent city temporarily houses internally displaced people in Rakhine state, western Myanmar. Since the global financial crisis, bilateral ODA has flattened while corporate giving to developing countries has rebounded strongly. Photo by: DFID Burma / CC BY-SA

This article is part of The Future of Global Development, a series for Devex Executive Members that explores what development leaders think of the industry’s top issues.

Weighed down by intense fiscal pressures at home, many donor governments have been tightening their aid spending since the global financial crisis. After rising sharply in the decade following the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, bilateral official development assistance has largely flatlined over the past five years.

At the same time, international development giving by the world’s corporations, by most accounts, has rebounded strongly. In 2011, global development giving from U.S. corporations alone stood at $7.6 billion — more than the ODA budget of Norway or the Netherlands.

As momentum builds for the adoption of a highly ambitious post-2015 development framework next year, Devex’s 2014 Development Influencers Survey reveals that development executives broadly expect this trend of stagnating bilateral aid and rising corporate giving to persist. Our analysis indicates that executives believe that global development giving by corporations will rise threefold over the next decade, as the budgets of established bilateral aid agencies decrease markedly over that period.

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About the author

  • Piccio

    Lorenzo Piccio

    Lorenzo is a contributing analyst for Devex. Previously Devex's senior analyst for development finance in Manila, he is currently an MA candidate in international economics and international development at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Lorenzo holds a bachelor's degree in government and social studies from Wesleyan University.