Taiwan’s official development assistance (ODA) loans amounted to US$380 million last year, or 0.093 percent of gross national income, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Economic and Trade Affairs said yesterday.
The percentage of national income spent on development assistance was similar to the level of 0.12 percent in South Korea and 0.11 percent in Greece, while in absolute terms Taiwan offered about the same amount as Luxembourg and Greece, director-general of the department Stanley Kao (高碩泰) said.
“In consideration of the financial position and the economic situation, there is still room to increase the ODA budget,” he said.
In 2010, the development assistance budget accounted for 0.101 percent of national income.
Kao said that the decrease in the ODA budget last year was due to the economic downturn, partially affected by Europe’s debt crisis and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, and was in line with most countries, which also cut their assistance allocations.
It was the first time that the ODA budget had declined on a year-on-year basis since 1997 and the first time the percentage was less than 0.1 percent, Kao said.
The percentage of national income spent on development assistance was much lower than the ratio of 0.32 percent for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development donor community as a whole and the 0.7 percent target set by the UN.
According to the ministry, 41 percent of the budget was used for social infrastructure; 19 percent on economic infrastructure; 16 percent in the development of agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, mining, and construction; and 20 percent in donations, emergency aid missions and disaster reconstruction, mostly to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.