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Saudi Fund for Development

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Saudi Fund for Development

Since the 1970s Saudi Arabia has provided foreign assistance to many countries and organizations.

Between 1976 and 2006, Saudi developmental aid amounted to UK$49 billion,[1] second only to the United States of America. The ODA/GNP ratio averaged 4.2% over this period, well above the highest amount provided by Development Assistance Committee countries (the DAC average is 0.35%).[2] On a per-capita basis, the country is the biggest worldwide donator though the aid has only been given to Muslim countries.[1]

Saudi fund for development

The Saudi Fund was set up by royal decree in October 1974, to stimulate economic growth in developing nations. In the next four years it gave soft loans totaling $3.1 billion to 51 countries, many of them with the lowest per-capita income bracket in the world. Almost 60 percent of approved loans earmarked for transport, power and water projects. By 1979, the fund accounted for about 30 percent of the kingdom's foreign economic aid.[3]

Regions

Middle East

Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion in export guarantees and soft loans to Iraq. For Lebanon, it pledged a total of $1.59 billion in assistance and deposits to the Central Bank of Lebanon in 2006 and pledged an additional $1.1 billion in early 2007.[4] Of that aid, $500 million were intended for reconstruction.[5]

After the Iranian earthquake, Saudi Arabia pledged more than $200,000 to the victims.[6]

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest providers of aid to the Palestinian people.[7] Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has given more than $480 million in monetary support to the Palestinian Authority, and has supported Palestinian refugees by contributing to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Through the Arab League it has provided more than $250 million for the Palestinians, and pledged $500 million in assistance over the next three years at the Donors Conference in Dec 2007.[4] Unlike aid from other nations, Saudi Arabian aid to Palestinians was not disrupted by the election of Hamas.[7]

South Asia

After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the resulting massive tsunamis, the Saudi government gave $30 million in aid to aid the victims, including a $5 million private donation by King Fahd (Saudis in total, including citizens, donated more than $80 million).[8]

In the aftermath of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Saudi Arabia donated over US$3.3 million, more than any other country,[9] and promised an additional $573 million, also the maximum amount of money pledged.[10] Saudi Arabia also provided 4000 pre-fabricated houses to Pakistan through the Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims (SPAPEV). The houses, which were to be equipped with all required facilities, cost over $16.7 million.[11] The SPAPEV also distributed 230,000 blankets, 150,000 quilts, 10,000 ordinary tents, 2,500 special winterized water proof tents, 100,000 stoves, 100,000 food.[12]

The Saudi government pledged $230 million to development in Afghanistan. It has also pledged $133 million in direct grant aid, $187 million in concessional loans, and $153 million in export credits for Pakistan earthquake relief.[4]

In the aftermath of the 2010 Pakistan floods, Saudi Arabia has donated more than US $361.99 million for the relief operation, topping the list of all donating countries.[13] Saudi royal family donated $20 million on the first day whereas Saudi citizens donated more than $107 million were collected in the first three days.[14] Saudi Arabia started the largest air relief bridge in the history and also donated two hospital consisting of 100 beds.[15]

Other

According to Washington Post, Saudi Arabia provided $300 million in weapons to government forces in Bosnia with the knowledge and tacit cooperation of the United States, a claim denied by officials.[16]

The Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo used $5 million to finance projects in rehabilitation, foodstuffs, relief materials, educational and religious programs, sponsorship of orphans, health care programs and development. Freights from Jeddah took 400,000 liters of milk as well as 900 cartons of clothing, 1,000 blankets, 25 water cisterns, medical supplies and surgical appliances such as wheelchairs to Pristina.[17] Saudi citizens donated $20 million to Kosovo in cash as well as food and medical supplies, and the Saudi Red Crescent sent medical volunteers.[18]

In 2006, the Saudi government gave $10 million in aid to the horn of Africa, through the World Food Programme, of which Kenya received $2 million.[19] Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal donated $1 million to help feed 3.5 million Kenyans during the drought.[20]

Views

In 2005, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato appreciated Saudi Arabia's role in providing economic and financial support to regional nations and developing countries in general.[21]

A Saudi philanthropist is lobbying the Saudi government to give for the first time aid to a non-Muslim country by offering £250,000 in aid to purchase rice for Cambodian children.[1]

Saudi Arabia was also criticized for giving too little in response to the 2004 tsunami, considering its large oil reserves. Al-Jazeera described its contribution (along with that of other gulf states) as "shameful."[8]

See also

References

External links

  • Foreign aid news stories - Royal embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington D.C.
  • The Saudi fund for Development - official website.
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