The most heavily aided place in the world

by | Apr 17, 2012

Ever wondered where gets most Official Development Assistance per capita in the world? Have a guess. Somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa? Nope. The Occupied Palestinian Territories? Uh-uh. Somewhere that’s recently had a huge humanitarian disaster? You’re still way off.

In fact, it’s the place in the photo above – that’s the French dependency of Mayotte, in case you’re wondering, which in 2009 received the princely sum of US $2,751 per person in ODA.

Now, you’re probably assuming that this is just some strange anomaly to do with France’s generosity towards her overseas colonies. But in fact, numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the top five most heavily aided places on the planet are also small island states – and by no means are they all French possessions. Tuvalu gets $1,785 per capita; Palau, $1,737; the Marshall Islands, $1,101; and the Federated States of Micronesia, $1,093.

In fact, no-one else managed to get over the $1,000 per capita mark in 2009. The next nearest was the West Bank and Gaza, at $748 a head. If you’re wondering when an African country that’s not a small island state gets a look in, then you’re looking at Djibouti – all the way down at $186 a head.

Oh, and newsflash – none of the above are low income countries. In fact, you have to get to number 24 on the list of countries that get most ODA per capita – that’s Afghanistan – before you find a low income country. But who ever said life was rational?

(PS – if you’re interested in the general insanity of global aid allocations, check out this recent paper from Jonathan Glennie and Annalisa Prizzon at ODI for a more thorough analysis than the one above. Me, I’m off in search of some consultancy work in the south Pacific. They can afford it.)


  • Alex Evans

    Alex Evans is founder of the Collective Psychology Project, which explores how we can use psychology to reduce political tribalism and polarisation, a senior fellow at New York University, and author of The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? (Penguin, 2017). He is a former Campaign Director of the 50 million member global citizen’s movement Avaaz, special adviser to two UK Cabinet Ministers, climate expert in the UN Secretary-General’s office, and was Research Director for the Business Commission on Sustainable Development. He was part of Ethiopia’s delegation to the Paris climate summit and has consulted for Oxfam, WWF UK, the UK Cabinet Office and US State Department. Alex lives with his wife and two children in Yorkshire.

More from Global Dashboard

Justice for All and the Economic Crisis

Justice for All and the Economic Crisis

As COVID-19 plunges the world into its most serious economic crisis for a century, a surge in demand for justice is inevitable. Businesses face bankruptcy – and whole industries may be insolvent. Similar pain is being felt in the public and non-profit sectors....

Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

Who Speaks for the Global South Recipients of Aid?

The murder of George Floyd and the resurfacing of the Black Lives Matter movement has led to heightened discussions on race in the international development sector. Aid practitioners in the North have not only condemned the systemic racism that they (suddenly) now see...