Jeddah: Saudi Arabia has contributed 65.7 billion dollars humanitarian and development aid to more than 150 countries during 46 years, and these contributions never received deserved public recognition, Arab News reported, citing a research paper.
The research paper titled "Why the World Needs Partnership with Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia's Global Humanitarian and Development Aid" published by King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies lists the various aids the Kingdom has provided through the years from 1975 to 2021. The research paper details the contributions by country, region, and targeted sectors. It includes Saudi's contribution to United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, response to Covid-19, housing refugees etc.
Makki Hamid, the author of the paper and director of research and information at King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, told Arab News that Saudi Fund for Development had financed projects in health, agriculture, irrigation, electricity, transport etc., for many countries through grants, concessional loans and deposits in central banks of many nations.
At the moment, the Kingdom contributes assistance such as aid during emergencies, development aid for improving the economy and society and charitable aid to building mosques, Hajj pilgrims etc., to many countries. Development assistance includes food aid, vehicles, logistic support, medical supplies etc., and is delivered through entities registered under the Saudi Aid Platform. Aids were sanctioned after stringent assessment of the needs of recipients. Some funding was paid in instalments and after monitoring outcomes.
Kingdom provides bilateral aid through governments, NGOs etc., and multilateral aids through UN agencies, Red Cross, Red Crescent etc. Saudi had donated 5.2 billion dollars as financial aid to different UN agencies, and among them, World Food Programme received the most, 1.9 billion dollars and UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees came second, receiving 955.5 million dollars. Further, Saudi donated 24.04 billion dollars for the UN's Sustainable Development goals, and the Kingdom had a role in formulating the UN's 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
Regarding Covid-19 international response, the Kingdom provided more than 825 million dollars for vaccines, medical supplies etc., for 33 countries. 300 million dollars were sanctioned for vaccine research, and another 10 million dollars were donated to World Health Organisation's Solidarity Response Fund. Also, Covid response aid was sent to Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Palestine.
According to the research paper, Saudi houses the sixth-largest refugee population in the world as 1.07 million refugees reside in the Kingdom, which is 5.5 per cent of its population. The Kingdom has exempted them from immigration fees and provides health care, education for their children and permits for work. From 2011 to 2020, the Kingdom provided 16.01 billion for refugees' financial stability.
A 2016 report testified that Saudi's assistance between 2005 and 2014 was 1.9 per cent of its Official Development Assistance (ODA), the highest percentage by a single donor. As per the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Saudi was sixth in the world's most generous donors in 2020 and became third in October 2021 as it contributed 5 per cent of global humanitarian aid, Arab News reported.