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The effects of Dutch aid on development and the Netherlands

Research reports

Written by Jane Kennan, Dirk Willem te Velde

While the Netherlands has always been a development champion, and consistently met or exceeded the UN Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) between 1975 and 2012, the Dutch majority parties VVD (centre right) and PvdA (Labour) adopted in 2012 a coalition agreement identifying €3.25 billion of cumulative cuts to ODA over the four years 2013–17, leading to a clear abandonment of the 0.7% of GNI target. Public discourse around development spending has changed radically in recent years. Some political parties went so far as to campaign on abolishing all aid except emergency humanitarian spending, and others for a two-thirds cut in aid for development. This marks a radical change which we argue is actually harmful not only for developing countries but also for the Netherlands, an open economy which increasingly depends on products and services produced or consumed in developing countries.

Tatiana Fic, Jane Kennan and Dirk Willem te Velde