2003 News Story

Saudi aid to third world still at four percent of GNP

According to a study conducted by Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf and published by the Fund for International Development at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the amount that Saudi Arabia has spent in aid to developing countries since the mid-1970s is over SR 280 billion [U.S. $74.77 billion]. This figure represents nearly four percent of the country's average Gross National Product (GNP). The assistance has gone to some 73 countries, including 41 in Africa, primarily for the execution of development projects. Included in the amount is SR 26.2 billion [$7 billion] contributed by the Saudi Development Fund (SDF) for the financing of 370 development projects in 65 countries.

In addition, the Kingdom has contributed over SR 78 billion [$20.8 billion] to a number of Arab, regional and international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, OPEC's Fund for International Development, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the African Development Fund. Furthermore, on a bilateral basis Saudi Arabia is a pioneer in debt relief, writing off some SR 22.5 billion [$ 6 billion] owed by third world countries.

Dr. Al-Assaf pointed out that many developed countries have slipped down from the agreed target of 0.7 percent of their GNP as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve this target.