What happened to aid in Budget 2021/22

What news did budget 2021/22 bring for New Zealand aid? It’s a good question, and it is also a frustratingly hard one to answer. As with last year, there was no Vote ODA in today’s budget, making it harder to work out the total aid spend. Worse than last year, there’s no annual information on aid spending for this triennium. All that’s available is information for the coming financial year, plus some lump sum totals which are not very easy to work with.

Still, here’s what we know thus far.

Aid is set to increase slightly in the coming financial year

Aid increased nearly 11% in the current financial year, but that is primarily making up for an under-spend in the financial year prior to that. Next year aid is budgeted to increase by just 0.7%. (None of the calculations in this email take into account inflation; if they did the slight increase would likely be a slight fall.)

New Zealand aid over time (nominal, million NZD)

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What’s happening to New Zealand aid spending?

2020 wasn’t an easy year, either for the affluent world’s aid donor countries, or for aid recipients. Until now we’ve been in the dark as to what this has meant for global aid. However, last week the OECD released preliminary 2020 aid data. These data are complete for OECD government donors. Unfortunately, the data don’t cover countries like China, but they still provide a good picture of global trends.

Measuring aid is messy, as I explain in a recent Devpolicy blog post. However, even with complications taken into account, the new OECD data have some good news. As the chart below shows, global aid flows increased in 2020 – the first full year of the Covid pandemic. (If you want to understand the two different aid measures on the chart see my blog post.)

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