UAE is world’s charity capital with $5 billion aid
Culture of giving deeply rooted in Emirates’ society and nurtured by leaders, says Mohammed
The UAE increased its aid rate to 1.5 per cent of GDP, the highest in the 34-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Emirates’ contributions rose more than threefold as it offered financial support to Egypt’s army-backed government during political unrest.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, posted his response to it on social networking websites. He tweeted: “According to the OECD, the UAE’s aids exceeded $5bn in 2013, making it the number one humanitarian capital worldwide.”
He added: “The culture of giving is deeply rooted in our society, and it has been always nurtured by UAE leaders since the inception of the UAE. We are humbled and pleased that the UAE came in the first place worldwide in terms of the value of its official aids as a percent of gross national income.”
Development aid from rich countries to some of the world’s poorest rose to a record high last year, data showed on Tuesday, but contributions from mainland Europe lagged as the region clawed its way out of recession. The OECD, a policy forum for 34 advanced democracies, said 17 member countries had increased their aid levels.
After two years of cuts to foreign aid budgets, it was 6 per cent more than in 2012 and the highest ever level, an outcome the OECD described as “heartening”.
Britain increased aid by nearly a third, and the UAE’s contributions rose more than threefold as it offered financial support to Egypt’s army-backed government during political unrest. Aid given by rich countries to poor nations rose last year to a record $134.8 billion despite budget constraints.
“Development aid rose by 6.1 per cent in real terms in 2013 to reach the highest level ever recorded, despite continued pressure on budgets in OECD countries since the global economic crisis,” an OECD statement said.
This figure came after two years of falling volumes.
“It is heartening to see governments increasing their development aid budgets again, despite the financial constraints they are currently facing,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria. “However, assistance to some of the neediest countries continues to fall, which is a serious concern.”
One such region was sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 28 members on the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, 17 increased their overseas aid last year while 11 cut it back.
(With inputs from agencies)