Belgium

Introduction

Belgium’s policy for development co-operation prioritises least developed countries (LDCs) and fragile states. In addition to tackling fragility, other policy priorities include a stronger focus on private sector development, climate change, digital for development and human rights-based approaches. Belgium’s priority countries are evolving in line with its focus on fragility: since 2015, six middle-income countries have been removed from the list of priority countries, while two fragile states have been added.

In 2018, Belgium expanded the mandate of its development agency, Enabel, giving it capacity to implement the Belgian development policy as well as, at the request of the government, assume any public service mission that fits into the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, preferably in developing countries and fragile states. A DAC mid-term review of Belgium was undertaken in March 2018, while Belgium’s next DAC Peer Review will take place in 2020.

Official development assistance

Belgium is the ninth most generous DAC member, providing 0.45% of official development assistance (ODA) as gross national income (GNI) in 2017. Belgium stands out for its support to fragile countries (33.7% of gross bilateral ODA), LDCs (30.3% of gross bilateral ODA) and its commitment to gender quality (60% of bilateral ODA).

In 2018, Belgium provided USD 2.3 billion 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 0.43% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 2.4 billion, which represented a 1% increase in real terms from 2017.

In 2017, in-donor refugee costs were USD 316 million, a decrease of 19% in real terms over 2016, and represented 14.4% of Belgium’s total net ODA.

Belgium’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 95.6% in 2017 (95.8% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 99.9% in 2017. Non-grants represented 0.9% of gross ODA.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!
Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, 60% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 14% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Belgium allocated 40% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!
Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, country programmable aid was 21% of Belgium’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 90% of this aid.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!
Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, 50.4% of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through the public sector, slightly down from 51% in 2016, while the share of gross bilateral ODA channelled through universities or other teaching and research institutions increased from 10.5% in 2016 to 11.3% in 2017. The share of gross bilateral ODA channelled through public-private partnerships and networks was 4.2% in 2017. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, USD 272 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs increased slightly as a share of bilateral aid (from 19% to 20%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, bilateral ODA was focused primarily on Africa. USD 468 million was allocated to Africa, USD 440 million to south of Sahara and USD 24 million to north of Sahara. Over 2013-17, the share of gross bilateral ODA allocated to Africa decreased from 44% to 35%, while the share of bilateral ODA unspecified by region increased from 41% to 51%.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, 25.8% of gross bilateral ODA went to Belgium’s top 10 recipients. Eight of its 14 priority partner countries are among its top 10 recipients. Kenya, not a priority country, receives government-to-government loans. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 449 million in 2017 (33.7% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!
Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, 30.3% of Belgium’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 404 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs), compared to a DAC country average of 23.5%. This is up from 27.2% in 2016, but below 2013-15 figures (37% in 2013, 35% in 2014, 32% in 2015). The LDCs, however, still receive the highest share of bilateral ODA, noting that 52.1% of bilateral ODA was unallocated by income group.

At 0.13% 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.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, 21.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 313 million) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on support to health (USD 109 million) and education (USD 96 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 181 million. In 2017, Belgium committed USD 5.8 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenues, amounting to 0.68% of bilateral allocable aid. Belgium also committed USD 217 million (25.3% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

USD 513 million of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 60% of Belgium’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (up from 53% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. Belgium’s aid to population, reproductive health and other social infrastructures focuses on gender. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

USD 385 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 45% of its gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 33% (USD 287 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment slightly decreased from 46% in 2016 while those focused on climate change increased from 26% in 2016. The share of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation (26%) is almost double the DAC country average (14%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

In 2017, Belgium’s development finance institution – the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) – mobilised USD 26.1 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), shares in collective investments vehicles (CIVs), syndicated loans, as well as simple co-financing arrangements.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 70% targeted middle-income countries and 30% the LDCs.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

Belgium’s private finance mobilised in 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the following sectors: industry, construction and mining (59%); energy (17%); and banking and financial services (16%). Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

Development co-operation is the responsibility of the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), which is part of the Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs. The DGD manages 55% of the development assistance disbursements, while the other 45% mainly stem from local or regional authorities’ budgets, in-donor refugee costs and debt relief. Enabel, the Belgian development agency, implements and co-ordinates the Belgian international development policy in Belgium’s 14 priority countries and supplies its expertise to other donors. The BIO invests directly in private sector projects in developing and/or emerging countries.

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

Evaluation system

The 2013 Law on Development Co-operation mandates the Special Evaluation Office (SEO), which sits within the Federal Public Service (i.e. ministry) of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation to undertake evaluations. The SEO is a separate unit whose operational independence is secured by an independent budget. The Special Evaluator reports to the parliament via the Minister for Development Co-operation. Read more about Belgium’s evaluation system.

Top priorities for 2019 are evaluations of Belgium’s general policy of multilateral core funding and of synergies and complementarity of ODA funding to civil society organisations.

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

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

Share

Embed code for this view

Copy code
Code copied!

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

Additional resources

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

2015 DAC Peer Review of Belgium: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/peer-review-belgium.htm

Belgian Development Agency (Enabel): https://www.enabel.be

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Belgium: https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/policy/development_cooperation

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

Belgium