Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s development co-operation 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 to finance 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 Center (KSRelief).

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest providers of official development assistance (ODA) in the Gulf region in terms of volume. Saudi Arabia’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 6 billion, preliminary data) decreased in 2022, representing 0.74% of gross national income (GNI). This was mainly due to a decrease in its bilateral ODA grants.

Saudi Arabia is currently working to deliver a national development co-operation strategy aligned with the country’s Vision 2030 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Until the strategy is agreed upon, all key development co-operation actors in the country, notably the Saudi Fund and KSRelief, continue to provide development co-operation. These actors deliver their aid bilaterally, although Saudi Arabia is engaged in the multilateral development system as well, including through the Islamic Development Bank, United Nations (UN) organisations and the World Bank.

Saudi Arabia provided USD 6 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 6.2 billion in constant terms), representing 0.74% of GNI.1 This was a decrease of 14.3% in real terms in volume and a decrease in share of GNI from 2021. ODA volume has seen many increases and decreases over the past ten years. Saudi Arabia is in line with its international commitment to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Saudi Arabia’s ODA portfolio in 2021, 92.8% was provided in the form of grants and 7.2% in the form of non-grants.2

Saudi Arabia provided most of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 93.5% of total ODA. Six per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Saudi Arabia allocated 6.5% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia provided USD 10 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 10 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data).

In 2022, Saudi Arabia provided USD 10 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response (preliminary data).

In 2021, Saudi Arabia provided USD 935.0 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 10.2% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 489.6 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 15.7% of Saudi Arabia’s non-core contributions and 84.3% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty-five per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to UN funds and programmes, regional development banks, and the UN system (in descending order).

The UN system received 51.6% of Saudi Arabia’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 482.6 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Saudi Arabia’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were WFP (USD 276.0 million), WHO-Assessed (USD 82.3 million) and UNICEF (USD 47.6 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, Saudi Arabia’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 7.0 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 249.6% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Saudi Arabia focused most of its bilateral ODA on SDG 4 Quality education, and SDG 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 90.1% of Saudi Arabia’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a non-DAC country average of 46.4%.

In 2021, Saudi Arabia channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector, followed by multilateral institutions, as earmarked funding. Technical co-operation made up 1.3% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 110.6 million of gross bilateral ODA. 1.6% 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 decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 5.5% to 1.6%. 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, Saudi Arabia’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 5.5 billion was allocated to Africa and USD 1.1 billion to the Middle East, accounting respectively for 77.6% and 15.7% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 228.1 million (3.2%) was allocated to Asia (excluding the Middle East). Africa was also the main regional recipient of Saudi Arabia’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations

In 2021, 91.8% of gross bilateral ODA went to Saudi Arabia’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in the Africa and Asia regions. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 3%.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 18.6% of Saudi Arabia’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 1.3 billion). This is higher than the non-DAC country average of 13.7%. Saudi Arabia allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (77.7%) to lower middle-income countries in 2021, noting that 3% was unallocated by income group. Saudi Arabia allocated 2.1% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 148.6 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1.3 billion in 2021, representing 19.1% of Saudi Arabia’s gross bilateral ODA. Thirty per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 23.9% in 2020, while 2.8% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 5.3% in 2020. Two per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 3.6% in 2020.

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

In 2021, less than half of Saudi Arabia’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 5.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 327.2 million), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 189.6 million), education (USD 93.1 million) and government and civil society (USD 37.2 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 34.7 million, focusing on transport and storage (USD 34.7 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 413.3 million (6.5% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on emergency response, health, and general budget support.

In 2021, Saudi Arabia committed USD 468.7 million (37.4% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

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 Saudi Arabia based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here.

Saudi Arabia’s development co-operation is decentralised, with several domestic providers. The two largest actors are the Saudi Fund for Development, which provides development aid in the form of soft loans, and KSRelief, which provides humanitarian assistance. In addition, the Ministry of Finance manages bilateral aid, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages Saudi Arabia’s contributions to multilateral institutions. A range of other domestic stakeholders also disburses ODA.

Saudi Fund for Development:

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief):

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia:

Participant in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC)). Reporting to the OECD since 1966 and reporting activity-level data since 2018. Observed a DAC statistical review and a DAC peer review in 2018.

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. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2023

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at