The Saudi Kingdom, acting through the Saudi Fund for Development, has provided generous development aid in the form of grants and concessional loans to several projects in different fields - notably health, agriculture, irrigation, electricity, and transportation.
The latest Global Humanitarian Overview notes that 235 million people are in need and face an uncertain future, and that the COVID_19 pandemic has triggered “the deepest global recession since the 1930.”
While the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia has neither received the media recognition it merited nor found prominence in international aid platforms, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs financial tracking services showed that Saudi Arabia ranked sixth among the world’s most generous donors, providing 3% of global humanitarian aid.
In October 2021, the Kingdom ranked third among the world’s top donor’s, with its share of humanitarian assistance rising to 5%.
Saudi Aid by Category
More than 150 countries
have benefited from assistance for over 45 years now
0.28% Charitable aid
24.4% In-country services to visitors
15.4% Humanitarian aid
59.9% Development aid
Currently, Saudi Arabia provides several categories of Official Development assistance - namely, humanitarian aid (given during emergencies), development aid (for improving the economic and social well-being of developing countries), and charitable aid (which is provided for cultural or religious purposes. Saudi development aid is primarily provided in the form of grants, concessional loans, and significant funding as budget and deposits in central banks of many low- and middle-income countries.
In the Saudi Fund for Development’s 2020 annual report, the organization outlined that their loans were directed towards the following goals:
- Developing basic infrastructure by expanding transport and communication networks
- Strengthening protection against diseases and epidemics by supporting the health sector
- Developing human resources
- Providing energy for all
- Ensuring food and water security
- Preserving the environment and public health
- Providing adequate housing for low-income groups
Financial support from Saudi Arabia to different UN agencies
The Saudi Fund for development has also made significant partnerships in the Middle East region. In it’s latest press release on December 31, 2021, The Saudi Fund for Development announced that is has signed three agreements in Egypt to contribute to the financing of the small, medium, and micro-enterprises, worth 300 million Egyptian pounds, presenting many opportunities for partnerships from smaller consulting firms and startups around Egypt with the Egyptian government in pursuit of the Egyptian national development agenda.
In line with many other development aid providers, Saudi Arabia also links its funding to clear outcomes. Monitoring and evaluation is carried out during the project implementation period to ensure that aid reaches the beneficiaries and makes the impact intended to achieve.