Financial aid is an important component in the assistance of countries on their road to development. There are many countries that struggle to provide for their citizens and help them become more prosperous, and so the money they receive from countries in the developed world provides a substantial supplemental income to those that need it. The money helps ensure that people can get the support they need to get through day-to-day life, or after natural disaster strikes. Much of this aid is distributed in combined efforts, coordinated by donor countries to maximize the effectiveness of the aid they are sending. This is to help ensure that every country is given the support they need to repair or develop certain elements of their infrastructure.
It is important to define which donations count as development aid, and which ones don’t. The term typically refers to the amount of money that is collected and distributed by the governments of different countries from around the world, and does not include aid that has been collected by private charities, since these typically operate outside the direct influence of governments. Since they are not answering to the state, the charities may spend the money on projects that don't directly relate to development aid. Though this aid is no less important, it often isn't included in official estimates collected by international organizations.
When evaluating the countries that spend the most on development aid, it is important to keep the context of their economies in mind. It has been noted that development aid has shrunk as a percentage of national GDP over the past few years, thanks to many governments being forced to cut back their own budgets, which include domestic and international spending programs. That’s why these top ten countries by total dollar value donated in 2012, while contributing huge amounts of money, are not necessarily as generous as countries that donate a smaller amount that account for a larger chunk of their GDP.
10 Norway - $4.75 Billion/ .93% Of GDP
The government of Norway recently provided $4.75 billion (.93% of GDP) in aid to developing countries in need. The country has been active in a number of different aid projects around the world, most recently contributing to relief efforts in the Philippines. That country is still reeling from the colossal damage of Typhoon Haiyan, and has largely relied on outside donations to help kickstart rebuilding efforts. Norway has also been a global partner with many other major efforts throughout the world, contributing to programs assisting in the development of countries all over the world.
9 Sweden - $5.24 Billion/ .99% Of GDP
Another European country that has contributed a significant amount of development aid over the past few years, Sweden has recently provided $5.24 billion, equal to .99% of GDP, in contributions to different programs. The country has a specialized council, the International Development Cooperation Agency, which determines how aid is to be distributed to countries and programs throughout the world. This directed approach is part of the reason why Sweden has remained such an active and effective player when it comes to the development aid arena of world politics.
8 Australia - $5.44 Billion/ .36% Of GDP
Australia makes thes list for the $5.44 billion it donates annually, which accounts for .36% of its GDP. It has recently provided money to several different development aid initiatives, and is active in a number of different types of aid programs covering a wide variety of issues. One of its biggest projects is its agricultural development program, which offers people the chance to improve their crop yields. There is talk about major cuts being made to the way that the country will be developing this kind of aid in the future, which is sure to be a major matter of discussion for the government over the course of the next few years.
7 Netherlands - $5.52 Billion/ .71% Of GDP
This country is another prominent player in world development aid, totaling up to $5.52 billion, or .71% of its GDP, in aid over the last few years. It is a staunch supporter of global poverty reduction, which is a top goal of the country as it goes forward. The leaders of the country are looking for ways that they can improve the economy of developing countries from the ground up, helping to make sure that everyone in those countries will be provided with the chance to improve their lives. The country is involved in aid that is distributed all over the world.
6 Canada - $5.68 Billion/ .32% Of GDP
Canada makes it onto the list with donations of upwards of $5.68 billion (.32% of GDP), which have been put towards assisting developing countries with a number of issues. Another country that has been prominently supporting the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon, they have been flying in food and medical supplies to help the local residents get the support that they need. Thanks to the aid of countries like Canada and Norway, it is hoped that the country will be able to make a swift recovery over the course of the next few months, though it will undoubtedly need more support as it goes forward.
5 Japan - $10.49 Billion/ .17% of GDP
The third-biggest economy in the world, Japan makes the top five with its huge donation of $10.49 billion. While that is a considerable sum, the total accounts for only 0.17% of the country’s GDP, making it the least generous country on this list by that method of calculation. Despite that, Japan has made a substantial impact on the way that global aid is provided to countries. It has recently been active in helping support initiatives that will actually prevent disasters from happening among countries that surround the Pacific Ocean. Japan itself was the victim of a recent major earthquake that struck the coastline of the country, which caused a significant amount of damage. Officials in the country hope to provide better alert systems when these kinds of disasters are imminent.
4 France - $12 Billion/ .45% Of GDP
The government of France seems committed to providing global aid to just about every corner of the world. It recently donated $12 billion, which accounts for .45% of GDP, to a number of charity efforts around the globe. Though France has been committed to helping just about every global program, it recently added in new types of aid to Africa, a move initiated by President Francois Hollande. Relief efforts will also be joined with renewed attempts to spur on trade ties, which is hoped to develop many different economic sectors in the country.
3 Germany - $13.11 Billion/ .38% Of GDP
Donating over $13.11 billion, or .38% of GDP, in development aid, Germany is among the top aid providers in the world. It has been active in a wide variety of initiatives, including providing a considerable amount of aid in the wake of the Typhoon that hit the Philippines. The country is also well known for offering a wide range of different agricultural and reinvestment programs to developing nations throughout the world. Many of these activities are directed by government agencies, which help determine how the aid should be spent.
2 The UK - $13.66 Billion/ .56% Of GDP
The second most generous by amount donated, and the most generous on this list as a proportion of GDP, the United Kingdom has offered $13.66 billion, worth .56% of GDP, over the past year. The funds provided many nations with the support that they needed to grow their economies, with the country being particularly prominent in the amount of aid that it has provided to refugees fleeing the Syrian crisis. This has enabled these refugees to get the support that they need - an important goal for aid workers trying to stabilize the situation there. They are also committed to offering debt relief service to people living in countries throughout the world, and are a major director of these charitable activities, providing support for global initiatives designed to help issues associated with poverty.
1 USA - $30.46 Billion/ .19% Of GDP
This country has been the leader of global development aid over the past few years, recently donating the massive amount of $30.46 billion in support of countries in need. Though the funds only total .19% of the country’s GDP, the sheer size of America’s donation plays an active role in supporting the economies of several countries throughout the world. It also has developed a few specialized initiatives that helped diversify the distribution of the development aid that it has provided. Child survival and health issues tend to dominate the specialized services that the country performs, with the prevention of infant mortality one of the priorities among the initiatives undertaken by the government of the United States.