UK Aid Breakdown

What does the UK give as ODA?

In 2012 the UK gave £8.74664 billion, equivalent to 0.56% of the UK’s gross national income (GNI) and made the UK the second largest donor by volume in the EU. Whilst the economic downturn means that the aid budget set out in the coalition Government’s 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) will be cut by £1.7 billion, the Government remains on track to meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid in 2013. Reaching 0.7% will make the UK the first G8 country to do so and only the 6th DAC country.

How is the UK’s ODA delivered?

In its latest spending round in 2013, the UK government announced that it would earmark £12.2bn for ODA by 2015/16. The UK continues to deliver its ODA budget primarily through the Department for International Development (DFID). The proportion of ODA delivered by DFID is set to rise by 7.8% (£809m) between 2014/15 and 2015/16 to reach £11.1bn.

The remainder 13.3% – £1.62 bn – of UK ODA will be channelled by other departments. In 2011, they included the:

  • Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC);
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO);
  • Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC);
  • Ministry of Defence (MoD);
  • The joint DFID-FCO-MoD Conflict Pool;

DFID provides aid bilaterally to its selected focus countries and to a wider range of countries through multilateral delivery systems such as the World Bank or the European Commission. The UK gave £91m as debt relief in 2011/12, about a fifth of which was from the DFID budget.

Bilateral aid

DFID conducted a comprehensive Bilateral Aid Review in 2010 which led DFID to identify 27 countries on which to focus future programmes on. In 2011/12:

  • DfID bilateral aid was £4,204m, equivalent to 55% DFID’s total programme;
  • A third of UK bilateral aid was spent through multilateral organisations (£1405m/ 33%) – a channel that has been growing in recent years, and represents a 123% rise since 2008/09;
  • Almost a fifth was disbursed through an NGO (£740m/ 18%), £528m (13%) was delivered as technical cooperation and £354m (8%) was provided as humanitarian assistance.

DFID Bilateral Assistance 2007/08 – 2011/12

DFID Bilateral Assistance 2007/08 – 2011/12

Source: DFID Statistics on International Development 2007/08 – 2011/12, p13

 Multilateral aid

  • In 2011/12 the DFID spent £3,258m (42% of DFID’s total spend) on multilateral assistance, up from 39% in 2009/10;
  • The Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) was commissioned in 2010 to assess the value-for-money for UK aid of funding through multilateral organisations. Of the 43 organisations assess 9 were deemed very good value for money, 16 – good, and 18 were adequate or poor;
  • The European Commission (EC) (£1,220m/37% of total) received the largest amount of multilateral aid in 2011/12, followed by World Bank (£1,039m/ 32%) and the United Nations (£377m/12%);
  • In the coming years the Global Funds are expected to see the largest increase in their share of the UK’s total core multilateral aid, up to around 23% in 2013/14 as shown in the chart below.


Share of UK core multilateral aid going to the main multilaterals

Share of UK core multilateral aid going to the main multilaterals









Source: ‘DFID Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12’, DFID, June 2012, p201.


Where does the UK’s ODA go?

  • DFID’s Bilateral Aid Review led DFID to reduce the number of countries it delivers bilateral aid from 78 countries in 2010/11. By 2012, there were just 28;
  • Pakistan (£412.1m), Ethiopia (£357.3m) and Nigeria (£284.4m) are set to become the largest recipients of DFID bilateral aid in 2014/15 – all of which are conflict affected and fragile states;

DFID bilateral ODA is being phased out from India, which was the largest recipient of DFID bilateral aid in 2010/11. From 2015 onwards India will cease to receive UK bilateral aid.
What is the UK’s ODA spent on?

  • The highest priority sector for DFID bilateral aid in 2011/12 was health (covering reproductive and maternal, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other) at 22%. Reproductive, maternal and neonatal health care and malaria have been identified as the main priories within the health sector;
  • Governance and security (18%), education (14%) and wealth creation (13%) are the next three largest priority areas as shown in the pie chart below.


DFID Bilateral Aid by Sector 2011-12