Saudi Arabia

Introduction

As a result of its continued focus to improve its foreign assistance, Saudi Arabia started to report at activity level to the OECD in 2018, after becoming a DAC Participant the same year. Saudi Arabia’s foreign aid is guided by its foreign policy and its principles to assist developing countries.

The Saudi Fund for Development provides soft loans, which are not geographically restricted, and deals directly with the governments of developing countries in order to participate in financing priority development projects. Humanitarian assistance forms an important part of Saudi Arabia’s overall aid, and is managed by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.

Official development assistance

Saudi Arabia started reporting to the OECD at the activity level in 2018 and has so far provided partial data for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Data shown in this profile should therefore not be considered as total development aid provided by Saudi Arabia. Notably, data on loans extended and grants from some Saudi entities are missing and the country is working towards completing the data.

Saudi Arabia’s previous reporting to the OECD on its development co-operation programme consisted of aggregate figures on humanitarian and development assistance by region, loan disbursements and repayments by the Saudi Fund for Development, and multilateral aid.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia provided USD 908 million in total official development assistance (ODA). This represented a fall of 4% in real terms from 2017.

In 2017, 65% of Saudi Arabia’s ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 56% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Saudi Arabia allocated 35% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

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In 2017, 61.2% of bilateral ODA was programmed with partner countries, making Saudi Arabia’s share of country programmable aid higher than the average for development providers beyond the DAC of 27.4% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 5.5% of this aid.

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In 2017, Saudi Arabia channelled 35.2% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 41.5% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was 1%. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 37 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral aid (from 8.3% to 7.3%).

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Asia and Africa. USD 418 million was allocated to Asia, of which USD 408 million to the Middle East; and USD 20 million to Africa. USD 19 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa. Bilateral allocations to sub-Saharan Africa decreased compared to 2016.

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In 2017, 77.5% of gross bilateral ODA went to Saudi Arabia’s top 10 recipients, mainly to Yemen (USD 391.6 million), followed by the Syrian Arab Republic and Somalia (USD 12 million each). Support to fragile contexts reached USD 434 million in 2017 (73.8% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 70.8% of Saudi Arabia’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 416 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs). This is up from 66.2% in 2016, but higher than the average of providers beyond the DAC of 12.3%. Bilateral ODA unallocated by income group was 25.3%.

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In 2017, 38.4% of bilateral ODA commitments was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 330.7 million, with a focus on support to health (USD 120 million), education (USD 73 million), and water and sanitation (USD 52.7 million).

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Institutional set-up

Saudi Arabia’s foreign aid structure consists of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre as a humanitarian arm and the Saudi Fund for Development, which is mandated to provide development aid in the form of soft loans. In addition, the Ministry of Finance manages bilateral aid and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages Saudi Arabia’s contributions to multilateral institutions.

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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

Saudi Aid Platform: https://data.ksrelief.org/en

The Saudi Fund for Development: https://www.sfd.gov.sa/en/web/guest/home

Participant in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Reporting to the OECD aggregate figures since 1966 and activity-level information since 2018 on 2017 data.

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