Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 12:07 UK

Development aid at record in 2008

Angel Gurria
OECD head Angel Gurria has warned the world economy will shrink this year

Rich nations donated more development aid than ever before in 2008, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The amount of official aid rose by 10.2% to $119.8bn, the highest amount so far recorded in dollars, it said.

The US was the largest donor, with its net aid rising 16.8% to $26bn last year. The UK's net aid rose 24.1% to $11.8bn, the third-largest amount.

In total, the aid was more than 0.3% of combined gross national income.

'Dangerous burden'

The OECD warned countries about using the financial crisis to cut back on aid.

"The current global financial crisis is having a serious impact on low-income countries," it said. "Aid cuts at this point in time would place a dangerous additional burden on developing countries already faced."

The OECD tallies up the aid from the 22 members of its Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which includes 15 countries in the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Five countries - Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - exceeded the United Nations' target of 0.7% of gross national income in 2008.

Germany, France and Japan were also among the five biggest donors.

South Korea's aid rose 31.5% to $797m in 2008. The country aims to become a member of the DAC next year.

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