Where the Money Goes
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the overarching framework for Ireland’s international development policy. The policy document is A Better World and you can read it here: A Better World.
Ireland’s focus is on poverty reduction and delivering for the poorest and most vulnerable. We are prioritising gender equality, reducing humanitarian need, climate action and strengthening governance as key strategies for directing our development cooperation to the furthest behind first.A Better World, provides the framework for Ireland’s expanding development cooperation programme, in line with the Government’s commitment to reaching the UN target of allocating 0.7% of our GNI to official development assistance by 2030. It outlines Ireland’s vision of a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world. It charts a clear way forward to achieve this vision, shaping and protecting our stability, our prosperity, our shared interests and our common future.
St Joseph's Compound, a school that educates and teaches hearing impaired children in Makeni Town, Sierra Leone. Africa, 2019. Photo: Philip Behan/DFA
- Our spending in 2020
- How we spend our aid
Our spending in 2020
In 2020, the Government spent over €867.5 million on Ireland’s aid programme. The programme is known as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme and represented 0.31% of Gross National Product (GNP) or 31 cents in every €100 that the country produces. The Development Cooperation and Africa Division (DCAD) of the Department of Foreign Affairs managed €545 million of this funding. €322 million was allocated through other government departments, mainly the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the Department of Finance, and through Ireland’s contribution to the EU Development Co-operation Budget.
Our overall expenditure is further broken down between Bilateral ODA (the funding spent directly on developing countries) and Multilateral ODA (our contributions to international agencies). In 2019, €458 million was spent on Bilateral ODA, while €409m was spent on Multilateral ODA.
Ireland's Official Development Assistance Annual Report 2020 gives a detailed analysis of Ireland’s aid programme. It includes a detailed financial breakdown on how the funding was spent, which regions and countries benefitted, and the main partners that received funding.
Some key facts - 2020
- Total Official Development Assistance: €867.5 million. This included over €150m allocated to the global response to COVID-19 in 2020.
- Of the total spend in 2020, 53% (€458m) was allocated to bilateral partners, with 47% (€409m) to multilateral partners.
- The top ten partner countries to receive Irish Aid support in 2020 were: Ethiopia (€39.6m), Mozambique (€25.7m), Tanzania (€22.9m), Uganda (€22.7m), Malawi (€20.8), Sierra Leone (€14.6), Zimbabwe (€8.7), Palestine (€8.6), South Sudan (€8.6M).
How we spend our aid
The aim of Ireland’s aid programme is to reduce poverty and hunger, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable. It supports long-term development and provides humanitarian assistance in over eighty of the world’s poorest countries.
Most of the funding is spent on agriculture and nutrition programmes, health and HIV, education services, and on providing much-needed humanitarian assistance in emergency situations.
Our programme is delivered by a variety of partners and organisations. We work closely with governments, local authorities and communities. We also work closely with a wide range of national and international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to contribute to the eradication of poverty, hunger and human rights violations. Their reach into poor and marginalised communities and their capacity to respond, especially in humanitarian situations, makes them important partners.
We also give significant support through the UN and EU, which allows us to engage at a global level and provide assistance to areas outside our partner countries.
We channel our aid in a number of ways: through government systems in partner countries, through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organizations and through multilateral organisations including the UN agencies.
How we monitor our spending
We are accountable to the Oireachtas and other institutions for our expenditure on aid. Our programme is regularly examined and evaluated in order to ensure it achieves effectiveness and value for money. This is done by:
- auditors based in programme country offices;
- the evaluation and audit team at headquarters;
- international audit firms which Irish Aid commissions to carry out audits;
- the national audit offices of our partner Governments;
- the Audit Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In addition our aid is spending is monitored by and reported on by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation’s Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). The DAC performs an important function in monitoring aid commitments globally including with respect to the efficiency and effectiveness of the support provided.
In 2019 the DAC reviewed Ireland’s aid programme and their report will be available on their website.
Our ODA is Transparent
In our Annual Report each year, we provide detailed information in the form of text, tables and case studies that show how the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget for that year is spent. A full analysis of Ireland’s ODA for each year, including ODA managed by other Government Departments, is available in the Annex section of each Annual Report : Ireland's Official Development Assistance Annual Reports
Ireland is an active member of the OECD and reports annually to its Development Assistance Committee on expenditure for the preceding year. Ireland also supports globally recognised transparency standards as the best means of delivering greater international aid transparency. Ireland publishes data on its aid expenditure through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard, available through a number of sources including Ireland’s Open Data Portal, data.gov.ie and the EU Aid Explorer website. The data files are also published and registered on the IATI website. The format used is the required XML format.
The Department will continue to work to maintain and enhance the transparency of international development assistance, playing our part in the governance of the Initiative. Links to the sites are below:
Irish Aid is Transparent
In our Annual Report each year we provide detailed information in the form of text, tables and case studies that show how the Irish Aid budget for that year is spent. In addition, in line with our commitment to aid transparency, outlined in Ireland’s policy on Development Cooperation A Better World, Irish Aid publishes detailed information on its aid programme in the internationally agreed format. For more information on this format and other development actors publications, please visit the website of the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
The following data files are now published and registered on the IATI website. The format used is the required XML format.
- Irish Aid Transaction File
- 2023 IATI Organisation file 20-10
- Irish Aid 2023 Transaction File
- 2023 Activity File
This data is registered to the IATI Registry. In accessing this data, users need to be aware of the following:
- A full analysis of Ireland’s ODA for 2023, including ODA managed by other Government Departments, is available in the statistical annexes to the Irish Aid Annual Report.
- Names of individuals and / or service providers are not published.
- The most recent expenditure data published has not been audited.
- Budget data for the current year is for planning purposes only and may be subject to change.
Read more about how we spend our money
Find our Official Development Assistance Annual Reports in this repository.
Did You Know?
- In 2017, the Government provided 743.42 million for Official Development Assistance.
- In 2020, the Government provided 867 million for Official Development Assistance. (Official figure for 2020 awaiting finalisation).
- All Annual Reports for Official Development Assistance can be found at Ireland's Official Development Assistance Annual Reports