Which countries are the most dependent on ODA?

By Anna Patricia Valerio 25 July 2014

A resident of the Solomon Islands gets tested for malaria. The Solomon Islands has the highest ODA-to-GNI ratio in 2012. Photo by: Jeremy Miller / AusAID / CC BY

Devex first asked this question and undertook the exercise of determining the countries that are most dependent on official development assistance using 2010 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — the most recent figures available at the time — in 2012.

Seven out of the 10 countries that made it in the previous list also appear in our list below, this time based on 2012 OECD data. All the countries in the current list are either Pacific island nations hampered by their location or sub-Saharan African countries crippled by past conflicts — a reality that points to the different kinds of vulnerabilities countries could face and make them rely heavily on ODA.

10 top countries with the highest ODA-to-GNI ratio. View larger image.

Solomon Islands

Despite being classified as a lower-middle-income country by the World Bank in 2011, Solomon Islands still largely relies on foreign aid: net ODA made up as much as 44 percent of the Pacific island country’s gross national income in 2012. Australia ($239 million), New Zealand ($25 million) and Japan ($20 million) — traditionally the largest donors to the Solomon Islands — were the same major donors that year.

Solomon Islands’ heavy dependence on ODA, however, seems to have stirred corruption claims among the country’s top ranks. Earlier this year, local nongovernmental organizations called for an “aid freeze” from donors amid alleged embezzlement involving the government — a strong accusation that, if true, runs counter to the rhetoric behind Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s “zero tolerance for corruption” policy.

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About the author

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Anna Patricia Valerio

Anna Patricia Valerio is a Manila-based development analyst focusing on writing innovative, in-the-know content for senior executives in the international development community. Before joining Devex, Patricia wrote and edited business, technology and health stories for BusinessWorld, a Manila-based business newspaper.

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