Oxfam: Keeping aid to world’s poorest countries at stagnating levels is a “moral failure and betrayal”

Published: 11th April 2024

In response to the publication today by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of preliminary figures on official development assistance (ODA) provided by Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries in 2023, Oxfam’s aid expert Salvatore Nocerino said:

“Keeping already insufficient aid at stagnating levels costs lives and is a moral failure. Again, rich countries have betrayed their promise to the world’s poorest people —a promise to end hunger, invest in life-saving public health systems, and expand education opportunities so nobody is left behind.

“There is no credible defence here. With a modest wealth tax alone, donor governments could raise over $1.2 trillion dollars a year ―enough to meet their aid promises three times over. The money needed for teachers, hospitals and nurses does exist; it's just padding the pockets of the ultra-rich. 

“We live in a world where, in a single month, the world's richest men add tens of billions of dollars to their fortunes while tens of thousands of women in the world’s poorest countries die in pregnancy and childbirth. What greater evidence of injustice and inequality do we need to witness before rich governments take action and keep their aid promises?” 

Notes to editors

ODA from DAC member countries totalled $223.7 billion in 2023. On average, DAC members allocated 0,37 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to fund aid, similar to 2022 levels, and far below the long-standing commitment to allocate 0.7 percent of their GNIs. In 2023, only Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Denmark lived up to this promise and, altogether, DAC countries would have had to increase their contributions by almost $200 billion to meet this commitment. More than 50 years after rich countries agreed on the 0.7 percent target, only six have ever met or exceeded it.

Spending on "in-donor refugee costs", which makes DAC countries recipients of their own aid, accounted for 13.8 percent of ODA ($30.9 billion) in 2023, down from 14.7 percent in 2022.

Oxfam calculates that a wealth tax of up to 5 percent on DAC member countries’ multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.23 trillion a year. This is equivalent to roughly three times the 0.7 percent ODA/GNI target, or about 2 percent of DAC member countries’ aggregated GNIs. As per the DAC’s methodology, Oxfam used GDP data from OECD databases as a proxy for this calculation since GNI data for 2023 are not yet available.

According to Forbes, the wealth of the 10 richest men in the world rose to $1.47 trillion in December 2023, $30 billion more than a month earlier.

According to the World Health Organization, almost 800 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day in 2020, and almost 95 percent of maternal deaths occurred in low- and lower middle-income countries.

Contact information

Annie Thériault in Peru | annie.theriault@oxfam.org  | +51 936 307 990 
Marika Bekier in France | mbekier@oxfamfrance.org  | +33 6 24 34 99 31
Julia Manresa in Belgium | Julia.Manresa@oxfam.org  | +32 473 87 44 26 | WhatsApp: +32 479 56 18 12 

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