Abu Dhabi: The UAE has committed more than Dh163 billion in foreign aid since its establishment in 1971 to fighting world hunger and poverty, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said on Wednesday.
Shaikh Mohammad said this as he launched the country's first foreign aid report that relates to activities in 2009.
"This figure could exceed Dh200 billion and might even double if only added to the massive yet difficult-to-track donations by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who generously donated to the poor and needy around the globe but never show off," said Shaikh Mohammad.
"The UAE is not only an international trade and financial hub, nor is it just a major tourist destination, but it is a major centre for humanitarian activities and the people of the UAE are glowing with life, caring for others and contributing to eradicating world poverty and hunger," he said.
Click here to see the full report (PDF)
He added that the UAE's foreign aid budget increased while most countries' donations declined owing to the global financial downturn.
"Last year, the UAE gave away about Dh9 billion or almost 1 per cent of its gross national income, making it the biggest donor in the world," he said.
Shaikh Mohammad said as much as 95 per cent of the country's assistance was in the form of grants which were given away unconditionally.
Interactive map: UAE foreign aid distribution in 2009
"Our assistance has only humanitarian goals. It is not politically motivated nor is it limited by geography. We are a global humanitarian capital."
The UAE donated Dh8.93 billion ($2.43 billion ) in foreign aid last year, according to the Foreign Aid Report of 2009, prepared by the Office for Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA).
In pictures: UAE aid effors across the world
The aid was provided in more than 1,500 contributions to projects in 92 countries. Asia received Dh7.77 billion (87 per cent of the total funds), while Dh911 million (10 per cent) went to Africa. The remainder was divided between Europe, the Americas, Oceania and multilateral organisations.
The report represents OCFA's first attempt to bring UAE donors together in order to provide a sense of the country's overall contribution to international aid.
The single biggest recipient of UAE's aid was Yemen, where renewed conflict and chronic poverty led to a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs in 2009, prompting UAE donors to contribute a total of Dh 2.84 billion in assistance. Other major recipients included Pakistan (Dh1.6 billion), Afghanistan (Dh1.26 billion) and the Palestinian Territories (Dh965.1 million).
Beneficiaries: regional recipients
The single biggest recipient of foreign aid from the UAE was Yemen, where renewed conflict and chronic poverty led to a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs in 2009, prompting UAE donors to contribute a total of Dh2.84 billion in assistance.
Other major recipients of aid were Pakistan (Dh1.6 billion), Afghanistan (Dh1.26 billion) and the Palestinian Territories (Dh965.1 million).