The state of Kuwait is among the largest providers of development co-operation in the Gulf region, providing its assistance 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 provided USD 388 million as ODA in 2020, representing 0.28% of gross national income (GNI).

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 mainly 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 by 2030, with a focus on eradicating poverty globally. Since its establishment, KFAED has disbursed over USD 19 billion in assistance to 107 countries, mostly low-income and least developed countries (LDCs). These activities are channelled bilaterally, although Kuwait also works with the multilateral system.

Kuwait provided USD 388 million as ODA in 2020,1 representing 0.28% of gross national income (GNI). This was a decrease in real terms in volume and an increase in the share of GNI from 2019. Within Kuwait’s ODA portfolio in 2020, 9.2% was provided in the form of grants and 90.8% in the form of non-grants.2

Kuwait provided almost all its ODA bilaterally in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 95.9% of total ODA. The share of gross bilateral ODA channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions) was 0.7%. Kuwait allocated 4.1% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, Kuwait provided USD 2 million of gross bilateral ODA for the COVID-19 response.

In 2020, Kuwait provided USD 37.6 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system. Of this, USD 32.4 million was core multilateral ODA, while the remainder was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose.

Eighty-six per cent of Kuwait’s total contribution to multilateral organisations in 2020 was allocated to the World Bank Group (49.8%), other United Nations (UN) (27.1%), and UN funds and programmes (9.0%).

The UN system received 36.1% of Kuwait’s gross ODA to the multilateral system, mainly through core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 13.6 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Kuwait’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: IFAD (USD 5.3 million), UNICEF (USD 3.4 million) and the UN Secretariat (USD 3.3 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 2020, Kuwait’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 756.8 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 0.9% in real terms from 2019. In 2020, Kuwait focused most of its bilateral ODA on the sustainable cities and communities and zero hunger goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2020, country programmable aid was 95% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49.7%.

In 2020, Kuwait channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector, as earmarked funding.

In 2020, Kuwait’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and the Middle East. USD 573.6 million was allocated to Africa and USD 68.6 million to the Middle East, accounting respectively for 75.8% and 9.1% of gross bilateral ODA. Asia was the main regional recipient of Kuwait’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, 83.8% of gross bilateral ODA went to Kuwait’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are notably in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia regions. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 0.1%.

In 2020, the LDCs received 9.4% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 71.5 million). Kuwait allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (78.6%) to lower middle-income countries in 2020, noting that 0.1% was unallocated by income group. Kuwait allocated 2.0% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states in 2020, equal to USD 15.2 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 96 million in 2020, representing 12.7% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA. The share of this ODA that was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance was 2.6%.

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

In 2020, more than half of all of Kuwait’s bilateral ODA was allocated to economic infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 59.4% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 449.7 million), with a strong focus on support to transport and storage (53.2%). ODA for social infrastructure and services totalled USD 192.2 million (25.4%), with a focus on water and sanitation (USD 142.6 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 37.0 million (4.9% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on humanitarian assistance too.

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 KFAED 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 contribute to promoting development internationally, notably the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can also provide humanitarian assistance. The mandate of the fund was transferred to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2003.

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

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 2018 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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