NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

United States is the World's Largest Foreign Aid Donor

January 13, 2003

Data from 2001, shows foreign aid has remained stable in recent years, however, the United States surpassed Japan to become the world's largest aid donor for the first time since 1992, providing $10.9 billion or 0.11 percent of its gross national income (GNI).

  • A large part of the increase by the United States was a $600 million disbursement to Pakistan for economic support in the aftermath of the terrorists attacks of September 11.
  • Japan's aid decreased by 18 percent, mainly due to the 12.7 percent depreciation of the yen that occurred from 2000 to 2001.
  • Despite the large decrease, Japan still provided $9.7 billion in aid, almost twice as much as Germany, the next largest donor.

Where does U.S. aid go?

In 2000, the U.S. provided $12.5 billion in official development assistance and official aid combined. Russia, Israel, and Egypt together received almost a quarter of this money. In 1980 and 1990, almost half of U.S. foreign aid went to the Middle East and North Africa.

In recent years, however, U.S. aid has been spread much more widely over geographical regions. Fifty-four percent of U.S. aid reached lower middle-income countries, while 44 percent reached low income and least developed countries.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "Recent Trends in Foreign Aid," OECD in Washington, No. 36, October-November 2002.


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