chapter  16
16 Pages

The history of international development aid

WithDavid Williams

The provision of aid to developing countries has become an increasingly important part of contemporary international relations. This chapter focuses mainly on the donors that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). The OECD defines Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) as flows to developing countries and contributions to multilateral agencies, provided by governments or government agencies, which have as their main objective the 'promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries' and that are 'concessional in character'. The provision of foreign aid was institutionalized more widely in international politics from the 1950s onwards. Many states developed their own bilateral aid programmes, partly in response to the emergence of US aid and partly because they too found that foreign aid could be a useful instrument for achieving international objectives. In addition, a number of new multilateral agencies were created.