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Official Development Assistance to West Africa

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According to 2018 data from 30 member countries of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), official development assistance (ODA) has fallen by 2.7% since 2017. However, ODA remains a crucial pillar of development finance, particularly in the Sahel and West Africa. In 2017, the 17 Sahel and West African countries received a total of USD 13.9 billion in ODA, representing 9.5% of all ODA given. Moreover, ODA represents a significant share of government budgets and makes up about 70% of the least developed countries’ external financing. For example, Mali received nearly USD 1.4 billion in ODA in 2017, which represents more than 40% of its annual government budget. ODA flows vary significantly by country and by year. While Benin, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Togo benefitted from strong increases during the 2015-17 period, ODA dropped significantly in Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, ODA per capita in these two countries is still more than double the region’s 2017 average of USD 35.9 per person. On the other hand, ODA to G5 Sahel countries has been increasing over the past three years. On average, G5 Sahel countries received nearly USD 20 more than the region’s per capita average. This represents additional financial resources for these fragile countries, but also makes them strongly dependent on external financing. In this respect, the aggregated 2018 ODA preliminary figures highlight a worrying trend: less aid is being provided to the countries that need it most, particularly in Africa. Bilateral aid to least developed countries fell by 3% in real terms; aid to Africa fell by 4% and humanitarian aid fell by 8%.

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