Trends in the Allocation and Priorities for Canadian ODA



Trends in the Allocation and Priorities for Canadian ODA

1.  Regional Distribution of Country-Allocated Canadian ODA  Go to this section 

1.1  Current Trends in Regional Allocations of Canadian ODA, 2000/01 to 2014/15

1.2  A commitment to double aid to Africa between 2003 and 2008

1.3  Trends in aid devoted to long term development programming

1.4  Trends in GAC multi-country regional programming

2.  Disbursements of Canadian ODA by Delivery Channel  Go to this section  

2.1  Global Affairs Canada ODA by Delivery Channel

2.2  Regional Trends for Delivery Channels for GAC ODA

3.  Disbursements of Canadian ODA to Priority Countries  Go to this section   

3.1 Overview of Priority Countries

3.2  Targeting the 25 Priority Countries

4.  Sector Allocation of Canadian ODA  Go to this section

4.1  Introduction

4.2  Trends in Poverty-Focused GAC ODA

4.3  Trends for Specific Sectors


1.  Regional Distribution of Country-Allocated Canadian ODA


1.1  Current Trends in Regional Allocations of Canadian ODA, 2000/01 to 2014/15


Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be a strong priority for Canadian ODA       This section analyzes some significant trends in the allocation of Canadian ODA by region (country allocated, not including ODA  not allocated to a region).

See GAC Country/Regional Allocated ODA: Value of Disbursements by Geographic Region, 2000 to 2014 (2015 dollars)

See GAC Country/Regional Allocated ODA: Percentage of Disbursements by Geographic Region, 2000 to 2014

For Sub-Saharan Africa, the value of Canadian ODA to that region has remained relatively constant, but with its share of disbursements increasing, between 2010 and 2014.

  • The proportion of country-allocated ODA to this region has increased from 43% in 2010/11 to 49% in 2014/15.  Nevertheless, the value of this ODA (in 2015 dollars) has remained relatively constant, averaging $2,330 million over the five years from 2010 to 2014, with a low of $2,070 in 2013 and a high of $2,490 in 2012.

For Asia, disbursements have been trending down since 2010, with Afghanistan accounts for large share of decline in disbursements to that region.

  • The proportion of country-allocated ODA, as well as the value of this aid, to Asia has been trending downward since 2010, from 29% in 2010 to 21% in 2013, but increased to 27% in 2014.  The jump in the share in 2014 is accounted for by large increases in multilateral disbursements for India, Pakistan and Vietnam (which are Canada’s share of disbursements by multilateral organizations over which Canada has no determination from year to year).  Canadian bilateral aid to Asia remained relatively constant between these two year (2013 – $642 million; 2014 – $635 million).   
  • The value in 2015 dollars for Canadian ODA to Asia declined by 45%, from $1,518 million to $837 million between 2010 and 2013 (with 2014 being an anomaly). Afghanistan accounts for a good part of this decline over these years — with disbursements cut by a third, going from $302 million in 2010/11 to $200 million in 2014/15.

The Americas as a regional program priority for GAC has had the largest decline since 2010.

  • Country programs in the Americas have experienced a very significant decline since 2010/11, dropping from 19% of Canadian ODA disbursements in that year to 12% in 2014/15.  In 2010 dollars, the value of these programs declined from $1,004 million in 2010/11 to $558 million in 2014/15, a decline of 44%.

The increase for Europe (Ukraine), the Middle East and North Africa is largely due to increased humanitarian assistance in the Middle East.

  • Support for country programs in these regions increased from 9% to 13% of Canadian country allocated disbursements between 2010 and 2014.  Much of this increase is accounted for by humanitarian disbursements in support of displaced people in the Middle East.  Disbursement for Syria, for example, increased from a mere $6.5 million in 2010/11 to $59.5 million in 2014/15, with further increases expected in 2015/16 and beyond.

Data calculated and posted, April 2017.


1.2  A commitment to double aid to Africa between 2003 and 2008


The strength of Sub-Saharan Africa in current aid disbursements is the result of commitments made during the previous decade.  This concentration on Sub-Saharan Africa was initiated by the then-Liberal Government at the Canada-hosted G8 meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta, in June 2002. The Government committed to increase Canadian aid by 8% per year, and to devote half of this increase to Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this commitment the government created the Canada Fund for Africa, with $500 million to be disbursed over 4 to 5 years. As a result of these commitments, Canadian ODA directed to Sub-Saharan Africa (not including debt cancellation) increased significantly in 2002/03 (by 19%) and in 2003/04 (by 20%). By 2005/06, Canadian ODA for Sub-Saharan Africa amounted to 50% of all country-allocated ODA in that year, compared to 40% in 2000/01 (see the chart noted above). 

In the 2005 Federal Budget, the Liberal Government extended its commitment to Africa with the pledge to double its aid to Africa between 2003 and 2008. It also created a $100 million Canada Investment Fund for Africa. This promised was maintained and fulfilled by the Conservative Government in 2008/09:

ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2003/04: $1,018 million  (including $64 million in bilateral debt relief.

ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008/09: $2,094 million, which represents a 105% increase over 2003/04.

But despite these increases, by 2010/11, the proportion of country-allocated ODA to Sub-Saharan Africa had declined to 43% from its high in 2005/06.  The budget for ODA has grown more rapidly during these years.

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.


1.3  Trends in aid devoted to long term development programming


The demands and obligation to respond to humanitarian emergencies has been growing in recent years and Canada’s humanitarian assistance has grown accordingly.  Has this humanitarian response reduced the aid resources available for long-term development efforts?  In many respects humanitarian emergencies are the result of a failure of development and good governance.  Long term aid resources are needed to increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people living in poverty who are most at risk.

Since 2010 Canadian ODA devoted to long term development has been reduced to accommodate increased humanitarian needs       There has been a reduction in overall Canadian ODA (including humanitarian assistance) of 4% since 2010.  But Canadian ODA devoted to long term development efforts have been reduced by almost 12% over this same period.  The gap between overall ODA and long-term development efforts has grown from 10% in 2010 to 19% in 2013 and 17% in 2014.  In these last two years the Government has been highly responsive to the humanitarian needs of displaced people in the Middle East, with proportionately less resources devoted in these years to long term development programming.

See Trends in Canadian ODA Allocations for Long Term Development Efforts: Country/Regional Allocated Disbursements less Humanitarian Assistance, 2010 to 2014

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.


1.4  Trends in GAC multi-country regional programming


GAC allocations to multi-country development programming has increased as a proportion of country allocated aid       The above analysis of disbursements of Canadian ODA to different geographic regions includes disbursements for regional programs covering more than one country.  Disbursements for regional programs have increased significantly during the 15 years under review. 

See Trends in Share of Total Regional Programming within GAC Country/Regional Allocated ODA, 2000 to 2014

Total multi-country regional programming has doubled as a proportion of total ODA disbursements from 2000/01 (11%) to 2014/15 (22%).  However, since 2005/06 this proportion for multi-country programming has been relatively constant at around 22%.  The exception were the years 2011/12 and 2012/13, when regional programs reached 31% and 26% respectively.

There has been considerable regional variations.

See GAC Regional Programming within GAC Geographic Regions: Proportion of GAC Total Geographic Program Disbursements, 2000 to 2014.

  • The Americas has had the highest proportion of regional programming, making up more than 42% of programming in the Americas in 2014/15, with a high of 50% in 2011/12.  This proportion is up from 25% in 2010 and 35% in 2005.
  • Regional programming in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia has been variable over the years.  For Sub-Saharan Africa it has declined from 23% in 2010 to 19% in 2014. For Asia, regional programming has fluctuated from 15% in 2010 to 33% in 2012, and back to 19% in 2014.

Data calculated and posted, March 2017.

Back to topics


2.  Disbursements of Canadian ODA by Delivery Channel 


In 2014/15 Global Affairs Canada (GAC) allocated 63% of Canadian ODA, down from 69% the previous year, 2013/14.  This decline was due to special circumstances in 2014/15 which included a $400 million one-off loan to the Ukraine (managed by Finance Canada) and a double allocation to the World Bank’s International Development Association window (due to technical reasons, also managed by Finance Canada).

Global Affairs Canada implements Canada’s ODA through three major Branches — Global Issues and Development Branch (multilateral aid), Regional Geographic Branches (bilateral aid) and Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch (support for civil society partnerships).  See the GAC Organogram for details.  Within these Branches, aid is delivered through a number of different institutional channels — governments, multilateral organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector.


2.1  Global Affairs Canada ODA by Delivery Channel

Within GAC’s allocation of ODA, multilateral organizations have been the predominant channel for implementing Canadian ODA disbursements.       This chart provides a breakdown between bilateral government channels, CSOs, the private sector, and the multilateral channels for Canadian ODA administered by Global Affairs Canada.  

  • In addition to providing Canada’s share of core funding of multilateral institutions, GAC also channels significant amounts of bilateral and humanitarian aid through dedicated funds (often established by Canada or other donors) in UN and other multilateral institutions.  While peaking at 62% on 2012/13, in 2014/15 more than 58% of GAC ODA was implemented through multilateral channels.  The use of multilateral channels has significantly grown from 46% in 2005/06.
  • Since 2005/06, between 20% and 27% (2014/15) of GAC ODA has been channeled through Canadian and foreign Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  These disbursements include those from the dedicated GAC Branch for CSO (Partnerships for Development Innovations) as well as CSO implementing partners for bilateral country-to-country disbursements and multilateral humanitarian disbursements through CSOs.  Disbursements through CSOs reached a low point in 2010/11 at 21% of GAC ODA.
  • GAC bilateral government-to-government disbursements, as a share of total GAC ODA, have been declining since 2005 (19%), reaching a low of 11% in 2012/13 and 2014/15.  As noted above respective Canadian governments have implemented increasing amounts of bilateral aid through multilateral institutions during these ten years.
  • The private sector, as an implementing partner for GAC ODA, has played a minor role in the ten-year period since 2005.  As a share of GAC total ODA, this sector implemented only 5% of GAC ODA in 2014/15, which is down from 7% in 2005/06. 

See Implementing Canadian ODA: Share of Country-Allocated ODA implemented by different delivery channels. (Multilateral, Government, CSOs, Private Sector)

The disbursement of humanitarian assistance, with its reliance on multilateral and CSO channels, affects the relative use of different delivery channels for ODA.  When humanitarian assistance is removed (looking at support for long term development efforts) for GAC ODA in 2014/15, multilateral channels implement 56% of this ODA, compared to 58%.  Governments implemented 14%, excluding humanitarian assistance, compared to 11%.  The share implemented by CSOs was reduced to 24% compared to 27%.


2.2  Regional Trends for Delivery Channels for GAC ODA


While by 2014/15 multilateral channels dominated the delivery of Canadian ODA for all regions, there are also variations among the regions.  The charts below set out the regional trends from 2005/06 to 2014/15:


Some notable highlights from the charts:


  • While governments as a delivery channel has declined markedly for the Americas, Asia and North Africa / Middle East / Europe, this channel remains relatively strong for Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 2014/15 civil society organizations are important delivery channels for Canadian ODA in the Americas (31%) and in Asia (33%), and are also important in Sub-Saharan Africa (23%), more important than governments in terms of the proportion of aid delivered to that region.
  • By 2014/15, the private sector delivers less than 10% of GAC ODA to any region.  But it has a greater role in the Americas (8%) and in North Africa / Middle East and Europe (7%), mainly in middle income countries.

Data calculated and posted, November / December 2016.


Back to topics


3. Disbursements of Canadian ODA to Priority Countries

3.1 Overview of Priority Countries


In 2014, the Conservative government identified 25 priority countries for focus for Canadian bilateral aid programs. This list revised a 20-country list set out in 2009.  The 2014 list dropped Pakistan, Bolivia and the Sudan, but added Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burma, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Jordan.  For an analysis of (then) CIDA’s 2009 list of priority countries see here.

2014 Priority Countries:

Sub-Saharan Africa (10): Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Sudan, and Tanzania.

Asia (7): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

Americas (5): Caribbean Regional, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, and Peru.

Europe/ Middle East (3): Jordan, Ukraine, and West Bank & Gaza.

In addition, the government allocates bilateral aid to 13 “Partner Countries.”

Previous Liberal governments, prior to 2005, also prioritized countries for Canadian bilateral aid. The 2005 Liberal Foreign Policy Review established 20 countries of priorities. It is unclear whether the Conservative Government, between 2005 and 2009, gave emphasis to this 2005 priority country list. The CCIC analysis pointed to 11 countries that were on both the 2005 and 2009 list.

Among the current 2014 priority country list, more than half (13) of the 25 countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, the West Bank and Gaza and the Ukraine have been consistently strong aid partner countries for Canada since the 1990s, and for some, in earlier decades.


3.2 Targeting the 25 Priority Countries


How do the GAC’s Bilateral Branches and Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch compare in the percentage of disbursements to the 25 priority countries?

See GAC Disbursements to Twenty-five Priority Countries: Comparing Bilateral and Partnerships Branches, Percentage of Branch Country (Non-Regional) Disbursements

Country-allocated disbursements (excluding regional allocations) to the 25 priority countries from GAC Bilateral Branches in fact have declined since 2008/09, when they represented 81% of CIDA bilateral disbursements, prior to the establishment of these priorities in 2014. In 2014/15, these countries represented only 71% of bilateral country-allocated disbursements.  The commitment in the 2014 policy announcement was to allocate between 80% and 90% of bilateral resources to these countries.

Emphasis on priority countries has varied by geographic region       In 2014/15, GAC Bilateral Branches were strongly concentrated on the priority countries in Asia (82%) and the Americas (87%).  But less than 75% of Branch Sub-Saharan Africa resources were disbursed in the 10 priority countries in this region.

Increased focus on priority countries by CSOs through Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch       While encouraged to program in the 25 priority countries when accessing GAC funding, Canadian CSOs receiving money through Partnerships for Development Innovations Branch are not included in the 2014 policy announcement on priority countries. The latter only applies when CSOs are accessing bilateral country program funds. Nevertheless GAC statistics for this Branch indicates that Canadian CSOs have increased their focus on these 25 countries since 2008/09. As a proportion of Partnerships Branch disbursements, this proportion increased from 44% in 2008/09, to 63% in 2012/13, falling slightly to 60% in 2014/15.

Data calculated and posted, November 2016.

Back to topics


4.  Sector Allocation of Canadian ODA


4.1  Introduction


The 2008 ODA Accountability Act commits the government-of-the-day to be assured that all allocations of Canadian ODA focus on poverty reduction, take account the perspectives of the poor, and are aligned with human rights standards. Government documentation regarding the implementation of the Act can be found here.  Analysis of its implementation by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation is here.

Despite this commitment to poverty reduction, there is no easy methodology for determining the degree to which the actual disbursements of ODA are compliant with the Act.  This section analyzes Canadian ODA disbursements since 2005 based on a proxy indicator for poverty focused ODA, based on selected OECD-DAC sector codes.  At best, it suggests some trends, but should not be taken as an absolute measure of poverty-related ODA disbursements.  A complementary analysis of trends in several key sectors for poverty reduction — support for basic education, basic health and reproductive rights and agriculture — provide additional indications of the sector priorities for Canadian ODA.  Trends in allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment is also a key area indicating a focus on poverty reduction consistent with human rights standards.


4.2  Trends in Poverty-Focused GAC ODA


Since 2005 Canadian ODA has become much less focused directly on poverty reduction       A proxy indicator for poverty focused allocations has fallen from 55% of sector allocated ODA in 2005/06 to 47% in 2014/15.

See Percentage of Sector Allocated ODA to Poverty-Related Sectors by Delivery Channel

The chart plots trends for the different GAC delivery channels over this ten year period:

  • While a smaller share of Canadian ODA, GAC aid disbursed through governments has increased from 47% to 63% between 2005 and 2014.
  • Poverty-focused ODA also increased from “other departments” beyond GAC, from 13% to 28% sector allocated aid from these departments, largely due to agricultural investments through the World Bank.  ODA disbursed by private sector organizations and individuals also increased from 39% in 2005 to 50% in 2014, but is down from 53% in 2010.
  • For other GAC delivery channels, poverty focused ODA declined between 2005 and 2014 — for civil society organizations, from 63% in 2005 to 50% in 2014).  Multilateral channels for poverty focused ODA remained relatively constant at a high level (62% in 2005 and 61% in 2014). Both multilateral and CSO channels account for a significant amount of Canadian ODA (see above).

How can one account for the shift away from poverty focused ODA since 2005?  Over the past decade, there has been a remarkable growth in ODA support for four broad sectors — public sector and public finance reform, security sector management and reform, transportation (roads), and energy and power generation. These last two sectors represent 5% of sector-allocated disbursements respectively in 2014, up from 0.1% and 0.6% in 2005.  Growth in support for energy and power generation in recent years signifies the use of Canadian aid resources in meeting Canada’s commitments to climate change mitigation.  Taken together ODA allocations to these sectors grew from 7% in 2005, to 24% in 2010 and 21% in 2014.


4.3  Trends in Specific Sectors


Sector Performance has been varied since 2005       While there is evidence above that overall poverty-focused ODA declined significantly since 2005, this trend was reflected differently among various sectors. 

See Trends in Key Sectors for Poverty Reduction: Share of Total Sector Allocated ODA for trends in agriculture, basic education, primary health and reproductive health services, and support for informal finance and SMEs.

As a proportion of total sector-allocated ODA:

  • Agriculture has remained relatively constant at approximately 9%.  Similarly basic education has taken up 7% of sector-allocated disbursements.  See the latest statistics for Canada’s disbursements for food security produced by the Policy Team of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation.  Funding to food security has been declining since 2009/10 when Canada met its L’Aquila commitments, essentially flattening in subsequent years at around $770 million. However, in 2015/16, food security saw a noticeable decline, hitting $633 million, dropping below even 2008/09 levels (without taking account of the impact of inflation on the value of these resources for food security programming.
  • While still a significant priority, primary health and reproductive services, on the other hand, has declined as a share of sector allocated disbursements, from a high of 27% in 2005, to a low of 17% in 2010, rising again to 21% in 2014.
  • Support for informal finance and SMEs has been largely insignificant in Canadian ODA, representing a mere 1% of sector-allocated disbursements in 2014.

Humanitarian assistance has increased significantly in recent years.  See the latest figures for humanitarian assistance produced by the Policy Team of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC).  In 2015/16, $738 million was disbursed for humanitarian assistance, down slightly from $847 million in 2014/15 and $857 million in 2013/14.  As a proportion of Real Canadian ODA, humanitarian assistance has increased from 11% in 2010/11 to 16% in 2015/16, with a high of 19% in 2013/14.

Data calculated and posted, March 2017

Back to topics