The Most Generous Countries in the World

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11. Switzerland
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.45% (tied for 10th highest)
> Total international aid: $3.02 billion (12th highest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 20.3% (9th lowest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 46.8% (75th highest)

Switzerland gave more than $3 billion, or approximately 0.45% of its GNI, to developing countries last year. The aid amount has risen consistently since it gave $1.3 billion, or 0.36% of its GNI, in 2003. Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most sound economies in the world with a perfect Aaa, stable currency rating, and in 2012 it was estimated to have more assets than liabilities. While Switzerland gives a great deal to developing countries, its spending on its own population is much lower. As a percentage of GDP, the Swiss government spent relatively little on social programs.

10. France
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.45% (tied for 10th highest)
> Total international aid: $12 billion (4th highest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 32.1% (the highest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 86% (18th highest)

Like Switzerland, France also gave 0.45% of its GNI to developing countries. However, the aid amount has fallen in the past two years from 0.5% of its GDP in 2010 and 0.46% of its GDP in 2011. The drop coincided with an increase in France’s liabilities as a percentage of the country’s GDP in recent years. In 2007, net liabilities were 35.7% of GDP. By 2012, its liabilities accounted for 68.8% of GDP. The country has done a good job taking care of its own citizens. More than 32% of the country’s GDP went to social spending by the government, a higher percentage than any other country in the OECD.

Also Read: Seven Countries Sending the Most People to America

9. Belgium
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.47%
> Total international aid: $2.30 billion (17th highest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 30% (3rd highest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 97.8% (14th highest)

Belgium’s grants and loans to developing countries have dropped considerably in the past three years, from more than $3 billion in 2010 to $2.38 billion in 2012. In that time, the country has fallen from sixth to ninth in developmental assistance as a percentage of its GNI. This decline in aid has come at the same time as the country’s finances have become shakier. Belgium’s debt as a percentage of GDP has risen every year between 2007 and 2011. The country spends a great deal on its population as well. The country spent 30% of its GDP on social programs, the third-highest proportion of the countries measured by the OECD.

8. Ireland
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.48%
> Total international aid: $809 million (14th lowest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 23.1% (15th highest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 106.5% (10th highest)

Development aid as a percentage of Ireland’s GNI has fallen every year since 2008, when it was 0.59% of GNI. During that time, the country’s debt has skyrocketed, reaching more than 106% of GDP in 2011, among the highest in the world. The unemployment rate in Ireland was 14.8% in 2012, among the higher rates of OECD countries. Unfortunately, not all of Ireland’s foreign aid has been going to good use. An investigation by the Irish Independent earlier this year found that some of the assistance has been going to projects such as a new pool pump for the ambassador to Uganda, new uniforms for drivers in Malawi and a new dishwasher for the head of mission’s resident in Zambia.

7. Finland
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.53%
> Total international aid: $1.32 billion (17th lowest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 29.0% (4th highest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 49.1.% (70th highest)

In each of the past four years, Finland has spent more than 0.50% of its GNI on aid, placing it among the best donors measured by the OECD. However, the country’s debt is growing, and the government has run a deficit for the past four years. Between 2011 to 2012, Finland cut aid from $1.41 billion to $1.32 billion. Finland also has a strong record of spending on its own citizens. The OECD estimates that Finland has spent 29% of GDP on social programs last year, more than all but three other countries measured by the OECD.

6. United Kingdom
> International aid as a pct. of GNI: 0.56%
> Total international aid: $13.66 billion (2nd highest)
> Social spending as pct. of GDP: 23.9% (12th highest)
> Government debt as a pct. of GDP: 81.8% (21st highest)

Despite cutting aid slightly from $13.83 billion in 2011 to just under $13.66 billion in 2012, the United Kingdom ranked as the world’s second largest provider of development aid, behind only the United States. But unlike the U.S., Britain gives a much larger proportion of its GNI to encourage development abroad, at 0.56% of GNI versus 0.19% of GNI for the U.S. Despite concerns about a slowing domestic economy and plans to limit government spending, Britain’s government also plans to increase spending on development aid from 0.56% of GNI in 2012 to 0.7% of GNI in 2013.