Portugal’s development co-operation has a strong focus on providing expertise to Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa and Timor-Leste. The majority of Portugal’s official development assistance (ODA) is provided as core contributions to multilateral organisations, with the largest share going to European Union (EU) institutions. Portugal’s total ODA (USD 504.7 million, preliminary data) increased in 2022 due to an increase in budget support to African countries, humanitarian aid to Ukraine and multilateral aid, and represented 0.23% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

The new 2030 Portuguese Co-operation Strategy (in Portuguese) continues the focus on co-operation with Portuguese-speaking countries, building on the particular links between Portugal and these countries. Key thematic priorities are human development, governance and climate and the environment, with gender equality as a cross-cutting priority. Through its peer-to-peer links, Portugal’s bilateral co-operation mainly aims to strengthen institutional capacity in its partner countries. Country strategies are jointly agreed upon with partners at a high level and cover all government interventions. The strategy also encompasses humanitarian assistance and development education.

In multilateral co-operation, the EU is Portugal’s main partner. Portugal advocates, in particular, for the EU partnership with Africa. It is closely engaged with the CPLP, the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries, and is also active in partnerships with Ibero-America. Protecting the ocean is a priority for Portugal’s international diplomacy. Portugal co-hosted the UN Ocean Conference in 2022. The co-operation strategy places greater attention on the links with other policy areas, such as investment and the environment – including climate and biodiversity – to ensure these consider developing countries' concerns and challenges.

The 2022 OECD-DAC peer review praised Portugal for mobilising its whole-of-government expertise and its strong focus on partner country ownership. It also highlighted its effective international advocacy, notably on triangular co-operation and EU collaboration during its Presidency of the Council of the EU. The review found that Portugal can make more out of its “decentralised” system of numerous institutions engaging in co-operation. It recommended improving co-ordination across government, pulling bilateral efforts together, focusing more on outcomes and taking action to increase ODA. Portugal submitted an internal management response to the review's recommendations. Learn more about Portugal’s 2022 OECD-DAC peer review.

Portugal provided USD 504.7 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 539.1 million in constant terms), representing 0.23% of GNI.1 This was an increase of 17.5% in real terms in volume and an increase in share of GNI from 0.18% in 2021. Up to 2022, ODA as a share of GNI had remained stable, albeit at low levels. Portugal is not yet in line with its domestic and EU commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Portugal provided all of its ODA as grants in 2021.2

Portugal’s ODA/GNI ratio ranked 25th among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries in 2022. In line with its policy, ODA allocations are highly concentrated in Portuguese-speaking countries, notably in Africa. Among DAC countries, Portugal had the highest share of gross bilateral ODA allocated to least developed countries (LDCs) in 2021 (69.8%) and fragile contexts (61.3%), and a high share to small island developing states (SIDS) (33.7%). With the phasing out of tied loans, Portugal’s bilateral ODA is increasingly untied.

Portugal is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Portugal provided a higher share of its ODA multilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 41.5% of total ODA. Fourteen per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Portugal allocated 58.5% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Portugal provided USD 35.4 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 32 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 0.4 million.

In 2022, Portugal provided USD 18.9 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, donations of excess doses to developing countries accounted for USD 18 million of ODA and USD 0.4 million as ancillary costs. In 2020 and 2021, Portugal’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 3.1 million and USD 31.4 million, respectively.

In 2021, Portugal provided USD 319.5 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 12.3% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 291.6 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 20.5% of Portugal’s non-core contributions and 79.5% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty-two per cent of Portugal’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to EU Institutions.

The UN system received 7.3% of Portugal’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 23.3 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Portugal’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were the UN Secretariat (USD 6 million), UNDPO-UN Peacekeeping operations (USD 4.1 million) and ILO (USD 2 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Portugal’s bilateral spending declined compared to the previous year. It provided USD 206.8 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 14.7% in real terms from 2020.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 57.8% of Portugal’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 11 million in 2021, an increase of 7.7% in real terms over 2020, and represented 5.3% of Portugal’s gross bilateral ODA.

Portugal disbursed USD 0.1 million for triangular co-operation in 2021. Its regional priority is Africa, with a focus on agriculture, forestry, fishing. Learn more about triangular co-operation and specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository.

In 2021, Portugal channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector. Technical co-operation made up 16.4% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 14.6 million of gross bilateral ODA. Zero per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 6.9% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs increased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 5.6% to 7.1%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Portugal’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 146.4 million was allocated to Africa, accounting for 70.8% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 23.8 million (11.5%) was allocated to Asia (excluding the Middle East), USD 11.6 million (5.6%) was allocated to America. Africa was also the main regional recipient of Portugal’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2021, 80.3% of gross bilateral ODA went to Portugal’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are mostly Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa and Timor-Leste, in line with its policy priorities. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 11.1%, with 35.3% of this unallocated bilateral ODA spent on refugees in the donor country.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 69.8% of Portugal’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 144.4 million). This is greater than the DAC country average of 22.9%. Portugal allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (69.8%) to least developed countries in 2021, noting that 11.1% was unallocated by income group. Portugal allocated 4.7% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 9.8 million. Portugal allocated 33.7% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021, equal to USD 69.7 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 126.8 million in 2021, representing 61.3% of Portugal’s gross bilateral ODA. Three per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, decreasing from 4.7% in 2020, while 4.7% was allocated to peace, which was the same in 2020. Three per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, similar to the share in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, over two-thirds of Portugal’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 79.1% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 132.4 million), with a strong focus on support to education (USD 68.7 million), health (USD 37.7 million) and government and civil society (USD 10.5 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 2.1% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 3.5 million), focusing on transport and storage (USD 2.1 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 4.1 million (2.4% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on health, government and civil society and emergency response.

In 2020-21, Portugal committed 38.6% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (up from 31.3% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 45.7 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 2.2% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Portugal includes gender equality objectives in 0.6% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. Portugal screens virtually all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020-21). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Portugal committed 7.4% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 7.6 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), down from 11.1% in 2018-19. Unpacking the environmental data further:

  • Three per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • One per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 2.7 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), down from 3.4% in 2018-19. Portugal had a lesser focus on mitigation (1.3%) than on adaptation (1.6%) in 2020-21.

  • Two per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 2 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), up from 1.4% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Portugal committed USD 1.0 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, down from USD 1.8 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 0.8% of Portugal’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Portugal also:

  • Committed USD 4.1 million (3.2% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

  • Committed USD 0.3 million (0.2% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Portugal does not have a general policy on exemptions on its ODA-funded goods and services in partner countries and territories. It provides information on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

Portugal uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2021, USD 17.7 million were mobilised from the private sector through guarantees mainly via FECOP - a mechanism to support investment in micro, small and medium-sized Mozambican companies - and Caixa Geral de Depósitos, a fully State-owned financial institution.

In 2020-21, 53.4% of mobilised private finance by Portugal targeted middle-income countries and 46.3% LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs). During the same period, the top beneficiary region of this financing was Africa (99.5% of the total).

Mobilised private finance by Portugal in 2020-21 mainly targeted activities in the transport & storage (52.9%) and energy (39.8%) sectors. Furthermore, over this period, 41.1% of Portugal’s total mobilised private finance was for climate action.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

Portugal’s DFI, Sociedade para o Financiamento do Desenvolvimento (SOFID), did not have any finance in 2021. In previous years, SOFID extended USD loans to the private sector.

Portugal describes its development co-operation system as “decentralised”, reflecting the engagement of many ministries, public and non-governmental institutions. The development co-operation agency Camões I.P. (also responsible for language and culture promotion) is responsible for the overall co-ordination of Portuguese co-operation. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, it also leads engagement with the European Union (EU) and multilateral organisations. It directly implements some bilateral programmes and delegated co-operation on behalf of the EU. Camões I.P.-led co-operation centres in key partner countries co-ordinate co-operation, and gradually have greater decision-making authority. The development finance institution SOFID is planning to grow its portfolio and is currently preparing its pillar assessment to implement EU programmes. Around 400 staff work on development co-operation in the Portuguese system, around half of which work in Camões I.P. and 80 abroad.

An important mechanism for consulting stakeholders is the Development Co-operation Forum. In addition to an annual meeting, it is planned to establish thematic working groups. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Plataforma Portuguesa das Organizações Não-Governamentais para o Desenvolvimento (Plataforma).

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Portugal’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Portugal based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

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

Camões - Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, IP: https://www.instituto-camoes.pt/en

Sociedade para o Financiamento do Desenvolvimento (SOFID), Portugal’s development finance institution: www.sofid.pt/

CSO umbrella organisation Plataforma: https://www.plataformaongd.pt/english

Portugal’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform: https://www.oecd.org/development-cooperation-learning?tag-key+partner=Portugal#search

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1960/91. (Portugal joined the DAC in 1960, withdrew in 1974 and re-joined in 1991).

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Other providers also provide non-grants, which include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.


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