Changing Patterns of the Official Development Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Emmanuel Maliti


Using OECD dataset, this study highlights six major patterns of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Sub-Saharan Africa region over the past ten years. The observed patterns include: (i) ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise, but at a lower rate relative to other competing regions. In other words, the region is less prioritized when it comes to receiving increasing ODA resources, (ii) ODA from non-DAC countries to the region is increasing at a higher pace than ODA from traditional DAC members, (iii) emerging and relatively small DAC members are remarkably increasing ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa than the large and traditional DAC members, (iv) the importance of ODA is declining in the region when compared to other sources of national budgetary funding. Reference is made to a declining ODA to GNI ratio, (v) ODA to the economic and production sectors is increasing at a higher pace than ODA resources being directed to social sectors, and (vi) within the social sector, ODA is increasingly being directed towards the water and sanitation sub-sectors relative to allocations to the health and education sub-sectors. The paper concludes by highlighting policy recommendations.

JEL Classification



  1. AfDB. (2015). Recognizing Africa’s Informal Sector. Retrieved June 16, 2015, from
  2. Amadou, N. R. (2015). Trends and Developments in African Frontier Bond Markets. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from
  3. Brautigam, D. (2011). Aid ‘With Chinese Characteristics’: Chinese Foreign Aid and Development Finance Meet the OECD-DAC Aid Regime. Journal of International Development, 23, 752–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burnside, C., & Dollar, D. (2000). Aid, Policies, and Growth. American Economic Review, 90, 847–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dang, A., Knack, S., Rogers, H., & Bank, W. (2009). International Aid and Financial Crises in Donor Countries. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from
  6. Davies, M. (2008). How China Delivers Development Assistance to Africa: Report Prepared for the Department for International Development (DFID). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from
  7. Fritz, M. (2013). Asia’s Run on African Resources. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from
  8. Fuchs, A., & Vadlamannati, K. (2013). The Needy Donor: An Empirical Analysis of India’s Aid Motives. World Development, 44, 110–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gallucci, M. (2014). Oil and Gas Discoveries Near Africa’s East Coast to Soon Drive Billions in Investments. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from
  10. IMF. (2015). World Economic Outlook (WEO) Dataset. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from
  11. Jones, A., & Nickinson, S. (2006). 2005—Year of Development—Are We Further Ahead? In Reality of Aid Reports, 2006: Part VI. World Aid and Donor Reports.Google Scholar
  12. Kaplan, R. (2010). The Geography of Chinese Power. Retrieved July 2, 2015, from
  13. Kharas, H. (2007). Trends and Issues in Development Aid. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from
  14. Kitano, N., & Harada, Y. (2014). Estimating China’s Foreign Aid 2001–2013. Journal of International Development, 28, 1050–1074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kragelund, P. (2008). The Return of Non-DAC Donors to Africa: New Prospects for African Development? Development Policy Review, 26, 555–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Martin, L. (2015). Indonesia, Africa Set to Be Hit in Aid Cut. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from
  17. McGreal, C. (2014). Obama Woos African Leaders to Counter Growing Chinese Influence. Retrieved June 13, 2015, from
  18. Melly, P., & Darracq, V. (2013). A New Way to Engage? French Policy in Africa from Sarkozy to Hollande. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from
  19. Negin, J. (2015). Requiem for Australia’s Aid Program in Africa. Retrieved July 1, 2015, from
  20. OECD. (2008). Official Development Assistance—Definition and Coverage. Retrieved October 29, 2017, from
  21. OECD. (2015a). Aid to Poor Countries Slips Further as Governments Tighten Budgets. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from
  22. OECD. (2015b). Official Development Assistance Increases Further—But 2006 Targets Still a Challenge. Retrieved June 24, 2015, from
  23. OECD. (2015c). Revenue Statistics Tax to GDP Ratio Changes Between 2007 and Provisional 2013 Data’ Tax Policy Analysis. Retrieved July 1, 2015, from
  24. OECD. (2015d). Detailed Aid Statistics: ODA Official Development Assistance: Disbursements [Data file]. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  25. OECD. (2017). Untying Aid: The Right to Choose. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from
  26. Sachs, J. (2014). The Case for Aid. Retrieved November 2, 2017, from
  27. Strange, A. et al. (2013). China’s Development Finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection. Retrieved July 1, 2015, from
  28. Tamang, R. (2009). Geopolitics and Shifts in Development Aid Policies: The Effects on Poverty in Nepal. Journal of Sustainable Development, 2, 44–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. The Economist. (2011). Aid 2.0. Retrieved July 1, 2015, from
  30. UNCTAD. (2018). UNCTADSTAT. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from
  31. UNESCO. (2012a). Inadequate School and Teaching Resources Challenge Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from Media Services 31.05.2012—UNESCOPRESS.
  32. UNESCO. (2012b). Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2012. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  33. United Nations. (2014). The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014. New York: United Nations.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Walz, J., & Ramachandran, V. (2011). Brave New World: A Literature Review of Emerging Donors and the Changing Nature of Foreign Assistance. Retrieved July 1, 2015, from
  35. Woods, N. (2008). Whose Aid? Whose Influence? China, Emerging Donors and the Silent Revolution in Development Assistance. International Affairs, 84, 1205–1221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. World Bank. (2015a). World Development Indicators. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from
  37. World Bank. (2015b). Africa’s Pulse. An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Maliti
    • 1
  1. 1.ConsultantDar es SalaamTanzania

Personalised recommendations