Kuwait provides development co-operation under the broad framework of its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) – the first fund to be established in the Arab world – primarily provides concessional loans for development projects that are a high priority to recipient countries, following a demand-driven approach. Kuwait’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 256.3 million, preliminary data) decreased in 2022, representing 0.15% of gross national income (GNI). This was mainly due to a decrease in its bilateral grants and loans.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Kuwait’s policy framework for development co-operation is anchored in its commitment to the 2030 Agenda. Kuwait’s activities target projects in various sectors, notably agriculture, electricity, irrigation, industry, transport, telecommunications, water and sanitation, health, and education. Over the past years, most of the fund’s operations have been geared towards assisting partner countries in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a focus on eradicating poverty and ending hunger to achieve food security globally. Since its establishment, KFAED has disbursed over USD 19 billion in assistance to 107 countries, mostly low-income and least developed countries. These activities are channelled bilaterally, although Kuwait also works with the multilateral system.

Kuwait provided USD 256.3 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 265.4 million in constant terms), representing 0.15% of GNI.1 This was a decrease of 40.1% in real terms in volume and a decrease in share of GNI from 2021. Despite the decrease in 2022, ODA volume has overall increased over the past ten years, with notable spikes between 2016 and 2018. Kuwait is not in line with the international commitment to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Kuwait’s ODA portfolio in 2021, 16% was provided in the form of grants and 84% in the form of non-grants.2

Kuwait provided almost all of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 96.2% of total ODA. Less than one per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Kuwait allocated 3.8% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2021, Kuwait provided USD 32.1 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, a fall of 19.7% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 30.9 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 100% of Kuwait’s non-core contributions.

Sixty-eight per cent of Kuwait’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to UN funds and programmes, and other multilateral institutions (in descending order).

The UN system received 68.5% of Kuwait’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 22.0 million to the UN system, the UN recipients of Kuwait’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNRWA (USD 20.8 million) and UNICEF (USD 1.2 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, Kuwait’s bilateral spending declined compared to the previous year. It provided USD 774.8 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 3.7% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Kuwait focused most of its bilateral ODA on SDG 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere, SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, SDG 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, SDG 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and SDG 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 96.9% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a non-DAC country average of 46.4%.

In 2021, Kuwait channelled most of its bilateral ODA through the public sector, followed by NGOs.

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 61.6 million of gross bilateral ODA. All of this financing was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). 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, Kuwait’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa. USD 481.7 million was allocated to Africa and USD 123.6 million to the Middle East, accounting respectively for 62.2% and 16% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 114.8 million (14.8%) was allocated to Asia (excluding the Middle East).

In 2021, 78.4% of gross bilateral ODA went to Kuwait’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in the North-Africa, Middle East and Latin America region.

In 2021, the least developed countries received 17.3% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 134 million). This is greater than the non-DAC country average of 13.7%. Kuwait allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (71.6%) to lower middle-income countries in 2021, noting that 0.1% was unallocated by income group. Kuwait allocated 8.7% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 67.6 million. Kuwait allocated 1.4% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021, equal to USD 11.0 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 188.2 million in 2021, representing 24.3% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA. Eleven per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 2.6% in 2020, while 16.4% was allocated to peace, increasing from 0.0% in 2020. Sixteen per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing an increase from 0.0% in 2020.

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

In 2021, more than half of Kuwait’s bilateral ODA was allocated to economic infrastructure and services (63.8% or USD 315.3 million), focusing on transport and storage (USD 285.4 million). Investments in social infrastructure and services accounted for 25.8% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 127.6 million), with a strong focus on support to health (USD 72.6 million), water supply and sanitation (USD 28.2 million) and education (USD 26.5 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 20.1 million (4.1% of bilateral ODA).

In 2021, Kuwait committed USD 346.8 million (70.1% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

Kuwait’s Law No. 35 of 1961 created the legal basis for KFAED to act as an implementing agency in all developing countries on behalf of the Kuwaiti government. KFAED was initially an institution for development co-operation with other countries in the Arab region, although it is now a global provider. KFAED acts under the Prime Minister’s overall supervision, who, in practice, delegates this mandate to the Minister of Finance. Other ministries, public authorities and non-governmental organisations also promote international development, notably the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can also provide humanitarian assistance. The fund's mandate was transferred to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2003.

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 Kuwait based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development: https://www.kuwait-fund.org/en/web/kfund

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait: https://aid.mofa.gov.kw

Participant in the OECD Development Assistance Committee. Reporting to the OECD since 1970 and reporting activity-level data since 2011 on 2010 activities.

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.

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