Portugal

Introduction

Portugal’s development co-operation is committed to the overall goal of poverty eradication and is developing new policies, instruments and ways of working in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These include scaling up its role as a delegated co-operation partner for the European Union, deepening collaboration with international financial institutions and developing new instruments on private sector development. As indicated in its recent DAC mid-term development co-operation review (2018), Portugal is looking to increase the geographic and thematic scope of its programming beyond its historic focus on capacity building, governance (including law and human rights) and the fight against poverty with Lusophone priority countries.

Official development assistance

Portugal’s official development assistance (ODA) is highly concentrated in Lusophone Africa and hence least developed countries (LDCs), primarily in the education sector. Portugal has increased its share of untied bilateral ODA , but ODA volume has not increased, despite the country’s positive economic growth since 2016. ODA fell by 15.6% between 2017 and 2018.

In 2018, Portugal provided USD 390 million in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.17% of gross national income (GNI). Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 341 million, which represented a fall of 15.6% in real terms from 2017.

Portugal’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 68.6% in 2017 (up from 59.1% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 97.2% in 2017. Non-grants represented 6.2% of gross ODA.

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In 2017, 38.5% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 12.6% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Portugal allocated 61.5% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 60% of Portugal’s bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 87.2% of this aid.

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In 2017, Portugal channelled 79.4% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 84.1% in 2016). See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 13 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs remained constant at a share of bilateral aid (from 8.0% to 7.6%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa. USD 105 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa. Bilateral allocations to Far East Asia were USD 16 million, closely followed by the Middle East at USD 12 million.

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In 2017, 82.8% of gross bilateral ODA went to Portugal’s top 10 recipients. Portugal’s six Lusophone priority countries feature on the list of its top 10 recipients. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 93 million in 2017 (55.5% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 55.2% of Portugal’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 92 million) was allocated to the LDCs, which received the highest share of bilateral ODA. This is up from 52.4% in 2016. The DAC country average for 2017 was 23.5%. Lower middle-income countries received 27.4% of bilateral ODA in 2017, noting that 12.7% was unallocated by income group. Within bilateral ODA that is unallocated by country, Portugal estimates that 52.3% is directed to the LDCs.

At 0.06% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) was lower than the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 64.5% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 94 million) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on education (USD 49 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 13 million. In 2017, Portugal committed USD 3 million (2.8% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 35 million of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 30.5% of Portugal’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (up from 26.5% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. Portugal’s aid to population and reproductive health focuses on gender. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 13 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 11.2% of its gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 4.3% (USD 5 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment increased from 7.1% in 2016 and those focused on climate change increased from 2.2% in 2016. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation increased from 1.3% in 2016 to 3.6% in 2017 and the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation from 1.6% to 1.9%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, Portugal mobilised USD 5.7 million from the private sector through simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector and direct investment in companies, by its development finance institution – SOFID – the Camões-Institute for Cooperation and Language, as well as the Portuguese government.

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Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 24% targeted middle-income countries and 76% the LDCs.

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Portugal’s private finance mobilised in 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the agriculture, forestry and fishing (31%); industry, mining and construction (23%); business and other services (13%); and communications (11%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, line ministries and, to a lesser extent, municipalities provide ODA to Camões IP, a public institute. While Camões IP has a mandate to act as the core entity for Portugal’s development co-operation, it is responsible for only 6.5% of Portugal’s ODA budget (2017 data). In June 2018, a reform package was approved, which is designed to streamline Portugal’s development co-operation system at headquarters and to increase delegation of authority from headquarters to field, with the aim of simplifying decision-making processes and increasing resources for implementation of development co-operation, including through increased staff capacity for Camões IP.

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Evaluation system

The Evaluation and Audit Unit under Camões IP is responsible for carrying out evaluations of Portuguese development co-operation and Portuguese language and cultural promotion activities. The unit is in charge of the evaluation of development co-operation, delivered directly and through line ministries, as well as internal audit. The unit also reports directly to the President of Camões IP, aiming to ensure greater independence. The triennial evaluation work plan is prepared with operational units and policy makers to be demand-driven and fill information gaps for decision making. Although evaluation continues to be considered an important mechanism for accountability, reporting and learning, budget constraints have been limiting the unit’s capacity to plan and manage evaluations. Read more about Portugal’s evaluation system.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Portuguese development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Additional resources

2016 DAC Peer Review of Portugal: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-review-portugal.htm

2018 DAC Mid-term Review of Portugal: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/DAC-mid-term-Portugal.pdf

Camões Institute for Cooperation: https://www.instituto-camoes.pt

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation: https://www.portaldiplomatico.mne.gov.pt/politica-externa/cooperacao-para-o-desenvolvimento

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1960/91.1

← 1. Portugal joined the DAC in 1960, withdrew in 1974 and re-joined in 1991.

Portugal