Photo: Matthew Willman/OxfamAUS Photo: Matthew Willman/OxfamAUS

Australia’s aid effort

Despite being one of the wealthiest nations Australia still lags well behind most wealthy nations in terms of overseas aid expenditure.

Some facts about Australia’s foreign aid program:

  •  Australia currently spends $3.8 billion dollars on foreign aid – that’s 0.34 per cent of our gross national income, or 34 cents in every $100 *
  • Both the Government and the Opposition have pledged to lift aid levels to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015
  • That still leaves Australia lagging behind many other developed nations, including Britain, who has pledged to lift its aid spending to 0.7 per cent by 2015 even though the impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Britain has been much greater than for Australia
  • Globally Australians rank among the top four most generous givers (individuals and companies) to international development charities. Recent Quantum Research found that 80% of surveyed Australians supported making a 0.7 commitment. It would appear that the goodwill of Australians is there but it is not matched by political parties commitments

Why aid works

Child mortality decreases

  • With aid assistance, 11 (of 29) countries in our region (Asia-Pacific) are on track meet the MDG target on child mortality
  • In Africa the child mortality rate in Malawi has fallen by 55% since the MDGs began

Education for more children

  • Since 2000 primary school enrolments have been growing at a rate six times that of the 1990s. Thanks to additional aid and debt cancellation for many countries, over 34 million extra children in developing countries are now able to attend and complete primary school. For example, in Uganda school enrolments rose from 3.4 million to 5.7 million students, and from 5.9 to 7.2 million in Kenya after school fees were abolished. In Tanzania aid has supported policies to remove school fees, construct classrooms (particularly in remote areas) and provide text books – this resulted in another 3 million kids in school

A decrease in HIV and AIDS and Malaria

  • Childhood deaths from malaria have fallen sharply in countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania by provision of bed nets and anti malarial drugs
  • In 2009 over four million HIV and AIDS sufferers were receiving life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs (up from 250,000 seven years ago)

Learn more

* Please note – OECD figures are based on 2009 calendar year, whereas Australia’s aid spending works on Australian financial year. As a result, some differences will appear in reported figures. As at May 2010, Australia’s aid commitment stands at 0.34% of GNI.

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