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UAE foreign aid stepped up by 43 per cent last year

ABU DHABI // The UAE increased foreign aid by 43 per cent in 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation revealed on Saturday.

In its report, UAE’s Foreign Aid In 2015, the ministry said the UAE spending on humanitarian, charitable and developmental forms rose to Dh32.34 billion, up from Dh22.64bn in 2014.

The goal was to help improve the living standards of individuals, regardless of their race, identity, language or religion, the ministry said.

‘’The UAE considers provision of aid as a humane duty and within the framework of a number of key values and principles on which the UAE’s vision was based,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said in his preface to the report.

He said these values were related to “our Arab and Islamic values and approaches”, which were instilled by Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s Founding President.

Most of UAE’s foreign aid – about 92 per cent – was directed toward development, which received Dh29.75bn. In 2014, the UAE spend Dh19.55bn on development.

Humanitarian aid was Dh2.16bn, or 6.7 per cent of the total, while charitable aid stood at Dh429.1 million, about 1.3 per cent.

Official development assistance in 2015 stood at Dh16.64bn, representing 51.5 per cent of total aid, the report said.

“The UAE, through provision of foreign aid and its efforts to achieve international development cooperation, has managed areas of priority including humanitarian assistance, elimination of poverty, and support for children, and global sectorial programmes such as transportation, infrastructure, as well as supporting governments and empowerment of women,” said Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation.

One of the country’s most high-profile examples of humanitarian aid during the year included its support of refugees and internally displaced people affected by crises and conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Aid was also provided for the construction of roads, bridges, and infrastructure in the field of renewable energy, in addition to long-term commitments targeting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The UAE also allocated about 31.5 per cent of the total aid as grants, while loans were 68.5 per cent.

The report quoted the development aid committee as saying that in official development aid, about 52 per cent was in the form of grants, while about 49 per cent was in the form of loans.

According to geographical distribution, countries in Africa received Dh25.11bn, compared with Dh14.67bn in 2014.

Asian countries received Dh6.63bn, whereas countries in Europe, North and South America, Oceania and others received Dh586.9m in aid.

The report pointed to the diversity of the UAE’s donors in 2015, where government aid was ranked first at 86.1 per cent of the total at Dh27.84bn.

The aid provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development was ranked second at Dh2.7bn. Khalifa bin Zayed and Nahyan Foundation provided Dh568.3m, representing 1.76 per cent of the total, while the Emirates Red Crescent provided Dh380.4m, representing about 1.2 per cent.

In its report, the ministry stressed that the UAE’s foreign aid was in line with the country’s policy of supporting the UN Millennium Development Goals. The country’s contributions towards achieving these goals in 2015 was Dh31.87bn.

The UAE had provided about Dh21.15bn towards achieving the first goal of the MDGs, eradicating hunger and extreme poverty, the report also noted.

The country also allocated Dh8.86bn towards establishing a global partnership for development. Another Dh1.45bn was allocated toward achieving the goal of environmental sustainability.

The report said that the UAE has achieved most of its commitments towards development goals for 2015 and is currently involved in the efforts aimed at achieving other goals in the future.

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The National