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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 14th April 2022

Declines and diversions likely after 'Peak Aid' in 2021

Blue Lines

Foreign aid from rose to an all-time high of US$179 billion in 2021, up 4.4% in real terms from 2020, according to preliminary data collected by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann says that the figures show that 'in times of crisis states will step up and provide support to more vulnerable countries and people'. 

However, the picture is far less clear. As expected, around 80% of the total increase was the result of Covid-19 vaccine donations, equivalent to nearly 857 million doses for developing countries. Over 350m vaccine doses came from hoarded stocks, some of which were donated too close to their expiry date and were never used. Millions of doses were delivered without syringes, making them almost useless. In recent days there have been reports that close to a billion doses are currently sitting in warehouses unused. 

And that is without mentioning the still unresolved question of patent waivers on vaccines to allow African states to develop their own jabs. 

Meanwhile, only $545m of total aid came in the form of debt relief. The news on aid for Africa will not get any better. Rebuilding Ukraine, as well as the costs from food insecurity resulting from wheat and grain shortages, will be a major drag on humanitarian aid budgets for at least the next 12 months. The World Bank has indicated that at least $50bn of donor cash will be required.