Spain’s international aid spending at rock bottom

The Spanish government is seriously failing in its official international aid commitments, experts have warned, after the OECD on Wednesday released figures showing the country is near the back of the development spending line.

Spain's international aid spending at rock bottom
File photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Spain dedicated just 0.16 percent of its gross national income to official development aid (ODA) in 2013, the new OECD figures show.

That's against an OECD average of 0.41 percent and well below the 0.7 percent level recommended of the United Nations.

More critically, Spain's aid has plummeted 68 percent since 2008, or the beginning of the country's economic crisis, the largest cut among the 34 OECD countries.

In 2008 the Spanish government gave €4.7 billion ($6.5 billion) in OAD but that figure was just $2.2 billion.

"Cuts to this type of help (ODA) are reaching the level where the (government's official aid agency) AECID is only managing a very small part of all of Spain's aid," Mayte Serrano, director of the Spanish aid NGO Coordinadora told Spain's El Confidencial newspaper.

"In fact, the government is not cutting more because it's not possible," Serrano added.

The situation in Spain contrasts with a 2013 which was generally positive for official international aid spending, according to the OECD.

"Development aid rose by 6.1% in real terms in 2013 to reach the highest level ever recorded," the group said in a statement.

The world's biggest donors in terms of total sums handed over were the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and France.

Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the UK were the OECD countries who gave other the highest percentage of their GNI, with the UK reaching the UN level of 0.7 percent for the first time. 

But the charity Oxfam warned against complacency: Europe's richest countries were "still not fulfilling their promises in terms of alleviating global poverty and radically reducing economic inequality" said the charity in a statement. 

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